Earth Day at the Homeless Shelter

A freak blizzard early this week has meant snowmen coexisting with redbud trees in full bloom. The cold front probably nipped Ozark fruit and spring soirees. This photo is a neighbors house, with red buds to the rear.

An inch of snow set back Cathy and my travel plans. Fun to be pissed off at the weather rather than the pandemic.

But I can’t complain too much. COVID 19 hasn’t messed my routine, finesse or good luck.

About 4 p.m. a volunteer from our nearby shelter at the Unitarian Universalist Church called to say they’re desperate.

“We need someone from 10 tonight till 7 in the morning.”

Usually the last of April makes you yearn to be out enjoying the young sun and new crops, frisbeeing or barreling thru slush in shorts for some spring skiing.

Not this year. I have spring fever but circumstances have me hung up in town.

“Sure, I can help y’all!”

I’d seen an email earlier about this need and already decided not to volunteer. Friends were coming by and these all night gigs mess me up.

“You’ll be able to sleep on a cot.”

“Sounds marvelous!” They just need two people on hand overnight to handle any emergencies.

X                     X

         Our shelters open when it’s below freezing. Hundreds of kind souls have volunteered, businesses have been generous, government tried its best. Springfield remains an Ozark mecca for people down on their luck. This was my fourth time to work a night. The evening hangs over my attempts to get things rolling. I recall faces I saw as they left the shelter shortly after 6 a.m.

“I finally got a phone yesterday,” one guy about my age, 76, says as he leaves for the bus and the Veterans Coming Home Center. “You can’t get a job these days unless you have a phone.”

A few thank the volunteer coordinator Ashley and me as they carry heavy black plastic sacks or backpacks with their sole stuff. But they have to wait in the cold for the guy with withered legs in a wheelchair to get on first before they can get on board. Understandably he was about the last to leave our shelter.

Luckily most of the snow is melting with sunrise on Earth Day. Maybe this will be the final night this season with freezing weather and 30 people snoring in a chilly church basement.


1 thought on “Earth Day at the Homeless Shelter”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top