I always thought I lived in a nice area but lately, all you see everywhere is homeless people.
We were hit by a bad hurricane and houses were devastated, businesses moved out of the area and the community was split.
I stayed because I had always lived here. I had friends here and a business, it wasn’t going so well due to a depleted town population, here and the town was my home.
It is sad that something uncontrollable can have such an effect on your home. You cannot allow for an ‘act of god’ it is random and happens without warning.
The town was in bad way. Actually, I will go as far as to say it was devastated.
There was also a lot of violence. The cops were spread so thinly; they couldn’t police the whole community. This meant that violence, gang and gun crime became rife and in some areas you didn’t go out after dark.
A few of my friends still lived in the town. Some of us remained loyal to the place we had grown up in and wanted to do something about it. After all, if we didn’t who would.
I invited 5 of my closest friends and they invited some of their friends and we ended up with around 30 people at my house. Everyone was there to discuss how we could improve the current state of the town.
We all decided that we would patrol the streets at night, in numbers, to try and improve safety and we would work in conjunction with the cops to help and support them.
Some of us would prepare food, water, soup and hot drinks and distribute this to people who needed it. A lot of townspeople were living hand to mouth, eating from food banks or going without. Anything we could do to help would be a good thing.
When I was younger I used to crochet, knit and sew. I volunteered to make clothes, such as jumpers, hats, gloves. If I bought a sewing machine I could make shirts, curtains and bedding, I was quite looking forward to that, I hadn’t done it for years.
I found a reliable website that publishes sewing machine reviews and it helped make my choice of sewing machine and away I went.
It may sound a bit weird making curtains and duvet covers for people who have nothing but some people in the town were living in dilapidated houses and we had worked out the food and clothing issues and I figured anything that made their internal environment a bit nicer would help with morale.
We were quite uncoordinated to start with. We would go out in large groups of around 6 to 10, we did want to stay safe but didn’t want to intimidate people. We knocked on doors and delivered our parcels.
Some of the stories people had to tell were harrowing. Some lost family members, a few were depressed and didn’t know how to pull themselves out of their current situation and some were happy as they had their families around them but monetarily they had nothing.
We distributed candles for light and clothes, shoes and food. It was so gratefully received by the recipients and it really touched my heart to be able to help even in some small way, until the government assistance started to kick in and the town started to make its recovery.
Delivering to guys that pretty much had nothing, really made me feel grateful for what I had. I had a good life and a reminder of that was a good thing.