It was a steamy morning, remnants of hurricane Hanna on the way, 6 volunteers still ventured out with 200 bags, menstrual kits, masks, bins of shoes, towels, tents, and sleeping bags. This time they were equipped with wagons to help distribute bags. Visiting three locations, they started at the usual giveaway location, in the under bridge parking lot across from APD Headquarters. We observed more tent than last month in that parking lot.
Our second location, 2nd and San Marcos Street, at the library, we served approximately 70-80 people. Everyone was getting ready for breakfast at the Angel House Soup Kitchen. This encampment is around the Austin Library parking lot. They added port-a-potties and hand a washing station here.
Our third location is back to the under bridge parking area, just further down 135 Frontage in the second parking area at 6th Street. It is safer for us to drive to this location and not cross streets to hand out bags. There were less tents in this location this month. This is the area we also handed out the tents, sleeping bags, shoes, and towels. Most everything went.
All our bags are packed the day before the giveaway. We have a small crew do the bagging event since space is limited at the storage unit. Our small crew of six is comprised of a family of four and two other volunteers from the organization. From start to finish on bag making day, with a lot of behind the scenes collecting, pick ups, shopping, sorting, counting, unpackaging… it takes about two hours to get them all packed and loaded in the trailer.
To give you an idea of what goes into the bags, here is what we have had available. The picture to the right contains 1064 calories: two Slim Jims, one main protein, two snack bars, two fruit snacks, one pack of crackers, a treat, bottled water; toiletry essentials: shampoo, conditioner, soap bar, washcloth, tooth brush, toothpaste, floss picks, razor, deodorant, tissues, cotton swabs/ cotton balls, lip balm, wipes; additional items: first aid kit, condom, very small packet sun screen, insect repellent, and TP. Separately we had menstrual kits, and face masks to hand out as needed. Things we didn’t have enough for all 200 bags: trying to fulfill 2000 calories, socks, and the sun screen we only have a few 1oz. tube along with small packets.
This month we called out to a local community for face masks and boy did they deliver. With what we had left over from last month we added 60 masks from Janice Smith, 30 masks from Elizabeth Galen, 30 from Brenda Speck, and 12 masks from Wendy Gaspard. We had 153 masks to hand out to our clients which was amazing. Some folks only had disposable surgical masks and were happy to get ones they can wash. Thank to all your hard work ladies. Austin Humanist at Work thanks you all from the bottom of our hearts.
We have had amazing donations of food and essential supplies this month. Thank you Season Dionne, Caitlin Galloway, Rachel Davenport, Cale Corbett, Julia Ottenberg, Jo Lindberg, and Sherrie Haynie for all your donations. We really appreciate everyone who helps our organization. We could not do what we do with out our wonderful donors. Thank you.
Lastly, our knitting and crochet guild got together once again to chat, knit, and craft items that include hats, scarves, washcloths which our organization hands out at our giveaways. We had eight people at this last guild meeting and it was a lot of fun chatting and catching up. The picture was from the next day. Virginia, the organizer, forgot to take a picture during the meetup but our wonderful group members humored her and four of them got online the next day just to take a group shot. They meet monthly, each Thursday before the giveaway. If your interested, check out their Facebook Group.