Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 3/4 for Lauren

The last 16 hours of the Homeless Challenge were pretty relaxed, nothing awful. After the first day of being homeless you start figuring out really how to survive on the streets and what to fill your day with. So starting from where I left off last, we were going to see the movie at the library, which we couldn't find and we ended up running into our whole group even though we're sent out into the entire DC in just pairs of two. All of us had come to see the movie. I was offered a job at a food vending stand, however turned it down, since I wouldn't be able to actually stay. It would've been nice to see the food vendor ask a real homeless person if they wanted a job, considering that's one of the hardest things for homeless people to get.

Later on we all met up at Five Guys to figure out where we were sleeping for the night. Three of our group members weren't able to sleep out on the streets due to medical conditions so our group size was down to nine. We were told it was supposed to snow that night and it would be a rough night and that they would have to call hypothermia to get more blankets. Our guide for the night was a man who had been previously homeless for more than ten years! We stayed in a dark alley behind a dumpster that he used to go to. Because there were only three of us, we were able to have 10 blankets total, which was the best thing in the world considering the night before we had 5 blankets for 4 people. We had the routine again of going in to the dumpster, getting as much cardboard as possible, layering it on the ground, laying a couple blankets on top of that and then laying down. I remember the first night was about 20 degrees without the windchill and it was pretty cold, even with lots of layers of clothes and a few layers of blankets on. The second night however, we each had two blankets individually and shared another 2 blankets so we were snug as a bug. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and realizing that while I was sleeping I must have kicked my shoes off because they definitely weren't on anymore.

Our guide woke us up at 4:30 that morning saying he was frozen and had to pee, so let's go get some coffee. We hurried up and made our way to the nearest McDonald's, all of us wishing he would've taken at least one blanket from us to use, considering we had 10 and he 0. We stayed at McDonald's until 6 or so and then were kicked out. Our guide was kind enough to show us to a Metro Bus to kill time and stay warm, which is where we stayed until the challenge was over at 8.

We got back to our hostel, showered, ate, and left to go to an organization called A Wider Circle. What they do is they have furniture, clothes, toys, beds, everything for a home, donated to them and then give them to families in need. There is no requirement that people have to meet to be able to receive furniture, they do however ask families every once in a while about income and they found the average family they help has an annual income of $12,000! So what we did was help move furniture into peoples trucks and also moved furniture from their warehouse up into the showroom. After that we left and went to DC Central Kitchen which is where lots of needed food for those who don't have food come from. They supply the food for after school programs, for food shelters, and just to serve directly. We were there for a few hours, my job was to cut onions, and let me tell you, we put our blood, sweat and tears into them. Of course they made us cry, but I also ended up cutting my finger so there we have the blood.  We came back and had dinner, had reflection and finally got to sleep in a bed.

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