Disaster has struck Mindindao in the Republic of the Philippines, where they've been victimized by Typhoon Washi and flash flooding in the aftermath. Over 60,000 are listed as homeless, and 1500 are thought dead.
The Internet is good and bad for these sort of things. Good, because we know what's happening around the world, and bad because so many things are made real to us, but good because the Internet helps me learn how my friends' and their friends and families have fared. A few have suffered.... I hope my Redroom friends and their friends, families and neighbors have survived.
Meanwhile, here in Ashland, following up on some homeless people, I've learned of both good and bad decisions. The Exclusionary Zone is bad. Get arrested or cited for being drunk or disruptive on the Plaza twice and you can be banned. It seems heavy handed, but businesses are worried about customers being harassed. When it comes to worrying about your fellow human, dollars are more important to some.
On the good side, the Unitarian Universalist, First Presbyterian, and Congregational United Church of Night are again uniting to give the homeless shelter on nights when the temperature drops to 20 degrees or below. The three churches share resources while First Presbyterian provides space inside where people can thrown down their sleeping bags, and give them one if they don't have one. Efforts are ongoing to be able to provide shelter whenever the temperature drops below 35.
Over 1,000 people were served a Christmas meal at the Armory downtown. Morning Star organized a potluck at the park gazebo for Christmas Eve, and breakfast was provided Monday morning the Congregational Church while Uncle Foodies is again serving on Tuesday afternoon.
High on the homeless' wish list are places where they can get a hot shower more often. It's being worked on. Small steps.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com