Well, we’ve been gone 24 hours now, and we’re on our way to an adventure. We had a great trip here, with Giordano’s deep dish pizza for dinner, and then we spent the evening getting to know the other 50 people who are here for the week and learning about the various agencies we’ll work with.
Sleeping here is an experience all in itself—as Brian, the director of DOOR Chicago said, we’re living the shelter lifestyle here. We sleep on the floor, packed into the rooms pretty tightly. Our girls are sleeping in a room with about 12 others—there are a totally of 20 of us in the room, and there’s not room to even walk between the sleeping bags! The boys are in the balcony of the sanctuary and in the choir loft. Going to bed at night is an adventure!
For work sites, our group is split into three teams. Each day we’ll be going to different sites. Today our teams went to a feeding program/soup kitchen in Barack Obama’s neighborhood and two thrift-store donation sorting warehouses. One of those two organizations uses the proceeds from the stores to help people get health insurance, the other uses it for various programs that help the needy.
Scott’s team (I was with this team today, hence all the photos…) made chili and salad and chopped bell peppers, then served about 55 people lunch. It was a great experience to see how a church can minister to people in need. It was also difficult to see how many people need help just to eat, and in a well-off neighborhood. We learned that many of the neighbors have been trying to get rid of the church because it brings so many poor people out of the woodwork in their neighborhood. Oh my.
At St. Vincent’s, Rick’s team unloaded what felt like a ton of clothes—including at least half a dozen skids of holiday (Christmas, Easter…) stuff! The team worked really well together and got to know each other better. Rick says Jessie is surprisingly strong! 🙂 They cleaned out three semi trailers filled with bags of donations.
Cecily’s team isn’t back yet, but as soon as they are, we’ll give you an update!
This team was at the Brown Elephant, the thrift store for Howard Brown—where proceeds go to help people get health insurance. They spent the day organizing the store, putting clothes in size order, organizing books, and putting things out in the store as the staff processed the donations. They had a long commute today—about an hour and twenty minutes on two buses!
Tonight we have a men’s choir coming to sing for us and to give their testimonies—should be interesting! More stories and photos will come throughout the week, so check back!
Thanks for your prayers and support!
PS–here’s a fun picture of Meredith in the supermarket in Chinatown….