I have never had to live on the streets and I hope I never have to. I have heard the statistics and know how close many of us are to having that be a reality. We often think it could never happen to us, but yet, we know it can happen, it is happening, and does happen every single day.
This past winter was a brutal one in Portland. We are known for our rain, but not for freezing conditions for weeks on end. When the snow hit, no one was really prepared. Highways became parking lots, trees fell, power went out and those living in tents under the bridges desperately searched for warm places to sleep. There were at least four reported deaths due to hypothermia. I am sure that was a low number.
We decided to take action and help in any way we can. Our solution – an Angel Vibe Tribe we named Winter Warm-Up for the Homeless.
As we have done in the past, we announced the event through our email list, Facebook page, and personal contacts. Since in the past, we have had people from outside the area want to participate, we created an Amazon wish list of the items we were looking to collect. Our community came through in spades.
People purchased off of the wish list, dropped off needed items, donated coats, boots, scarves, warm undergarments, contributed cash, shared the event to their communities and gave of their time to help make it happen. It wouldn’t have been possible without their help and support.
On February 11, 2017, we created and distributed close to 50 winter warm up bags that contained: hat, gloves, socks, solar blanket, poncho, washcloth, wipes, hand sanitizer, chapstick, toothbrush, toothpaste, hot chocolate, tea, throat lozenges, oatmeal and protein bars. It was a fully-loaded bag and everyone who received a bag was thrilled and so grateful for effort.
We also served hot coffee as we handed out the bags and winter gear. We have found that some of the best conversations come while sipping something warm and tasty.
In the course of the day, we met all kinds of people. One had lost everything due to a home fire. She was wearing slippers, so was beyond excited to receive the winter boots. Another husband and wife had lost their jobs and were living in a tent. They had just moved it to higher ground due to some flooding and while they were out looking for work their tent got slashed and all of their meager belongings were stolen. His sweatshirt wasn’t keeping out the cold, but the new ski coat we gave him brought a huge smile to his face. Each person we met has a story. They are real people trying to survive, stay warm, fed and safe.
It was our honor to be the liaison between those who contributed to this event and those who received the items. The phrase that was repeated over and over again by each person who received something from us was, “Thank you so much and God bless you.”
For privacy purposes and out of respect, we don’t take photos of those receiving the bags, but I can tell you, the smiles were huge, the gratitude sincere and the love was felt.
Thanks to the generosity of The Courage Vibe community, we gave big and made a big impact in the lives of many people.
A quick recap of the day
What to know about upcoming Angel Vibe Tribe events?