Saturday, Jan. 2 Update
Stats: 47 servings of New Year’s good-luck Hoppin’ John supplemented with cornbread, chewy granola bars, 3 bags of clementines, and 48 bottles of water. We also gave out 300 disposable masks, 100 kid-size disposable masks, 50 mini-sanitizers, 50 thermometers, 60 bottles of lotion, 50 hand-warmers and 76 reusable bags. For clothing, we handed out 10 winter coats, 54 hats, 14 scarves, 14 pairs of socks, 6 pairs of gloves, 28 sweaters/tops, 5 pairs of pants, 3 pillows, 3 sleeping bags, 8 blankets, 43 towels, and a large bin of children’s clothing and toys.
Today was extremely busy and all of the above items were handed out in about 45 hectic minutes. People seemed to be in a good mood with the new year and warmer weather. I had wonderful help from Janeene Norris, M’lissa Starr Moss, and M’lissa’s sister (also named Janean) who managed the large crowd with friendliness and good humor. One character hung around with us for a while calling out, “Get your corned beef sandwiches! Get your corona shots!” and whatever else came to mind as a goof, which made us all laugh. We also had help from a neighborhood community leader who comes out every week to help us serve and make sure everything runs smoothly. When I thanked him as I was leaving today, he said, “It’s okay. This feeds my soul.” I said, “Me too.” It was a great way to start the year.
Even though it was in the upper 50s today, people continue to be eager for warm clothing and blankets in preparation for cold nights to come. Surprise hits this week included peanut butter sandwich crackers, hand towels (the kind you might accidentally take from a gym), and bottles of hand lotion, along with the usual demand for masks and sanitizer. I experimented with offering children’s clothing and toys this week but there wasn’t a high demand for those items, in part because of the variation in sizes and age ranges.