Bob’s March Report to the Board


The Mural on the Lawrence Street Wall:

This project will begin soon with an expected completion date by April 22nd, Earth Day.  A formal dedication is tentatively scheduled for WV Fest in June.  The wall will be prepared by a local painter, Kevin Brackens, after which Katie Thompson and Sikara Sokel will begin the art work.  I will let you all know when it begins and report on progress.

Stories of Us

A conversation: One of our client volunteers had agreed to provide transportation for another client to a medical appointment in Winchester.  Our volunteer said that he would need precise directions before attempting to drive into this unfamiliar area and acknowledged his discomfort with being lost.  After thinking about this statement for a moment or two, he said, “I guess that’s the way it is when people have lost their souls.”

Leadership Jefferson and a secret client: The current class visited with us this month during their segment on social issues. A work colleague, a young woman, of one group member agreed to play the role of a client and then share her experiences with the group.  As is almost always the case, she got caught up in her story of being abandoned at the Casino, with little more than the clothing on her back. When she was asked by intake if she had any family or friends to whom she could turn for help, she said she had neither.  Later, as she told this story to the group, she teared up as she related the response of one of our intake folk, who came to her and said, “now, you do have friends.”. The experience was typically powerful for our unwitting volunteers, the secret client and the larger group.  By the way, several food pantry volunteers wanted to adopt this young woman

Bedbugs: A resident of our cold-weather shelter suffered an injury, was hospitalized, and then sent to Willow Tree for rehab.  Upon his release from rehab, he spent a night at a friend’s home which had, in the words of an exterminator, “the worst case of bed bug infestation I have ever seen.”  Our client came to see Dr. Dave a few days later.  Dr. Dave moved him outside because he had carried more than his share of bed bugs along with him.  We got some good advice from Enviro-Tech, our exterminator and have taken steps to deal with the problem.  Our client seems to have taken the steps he needed to take and we only lost one chair and an old sofa.

Financial Development Committee:  You will recall that the board approved the creation of this standing committee.  So far, we have had one confirmed volunteer and two individuals who might be interested.  The confirmed volunteer is Bob DuBose, a long-time volunteer who, before moving to Oregon, served as our president.  Now back, he has agreed to return to service.  Please, help us find the right folk to help with this important effort.

Carpenters Apprentices: A Ranson resident, a JCCM client, was referred by the city for code violations.  The home, long occupied by various members of the same family, was assessed by a team that included a contractor and a social worker.  This project has been stalled by issues of ownership and the possibility that further inspection might reveal significant additional damage.  We are continuing to monitor this process as best we can, especially considering the possible loss of a family home with no other housing option available for our client.

Grants:  We have several small grant applications in the works, all focused on increasing our services to those without homes.  The grant request to Community Foundation was not accepted but that idea of studying heavy users of the hospital emergency department has been folded into a larger project to identify vulnerable families and their needs for assistance.  The request is for a three year grant from WISH (Women Investing in Shepherd) in the amount of $28,750.  We passed the first hurdle and a detailed proposal is due at the end of April.  This is a new world for us and I am sure there will be many lessons as we continue to forge ahead.

What’s going on in the building?

Cooking with the Docs: We have now had three sessions of this increasingly popular program.  Those who attend are learning that eating healthy is possible drawing on the food we have in the food pantry and that comes from the community gardens.  I expect that, in time, our food pantry will be a source of even healthier food, especially for those who are diabetic.

Kiwanis Kids Garden: The K-Kids continue to come on Monday afternoons and play games, do science experiments and experience mindfulness.  Next to come is gardening in their own garden, out behind our building.  Soon, the kids will have a guided tour to Evitts Run Park in search of really good soil which, I am told, consists of “worm poop.”  Who knew?

Ask the Lawyer…the Nurse…the Pharmacist: Experts continue to volunteer their time: Ask the Lawyer is on the second Tuesday at 2pm; Ask the Pharmacist on the second Thursday at 10am; and Ask the Nurse on the fourth Thursday at 10am.  And, there will be more coming.  Thanks to this community we serve.

Coming Attractions

April Board Meeting: The decision was made to skip the March meeting and leap right into April.

Active Shooter Training: Jefferson County COAD is sponsoring Active Shooter Training on April 10th, from 7pm-9pm at the Hospice of the Panhandle.  This is especially designed for churches.