My heart was pounding all week as the weather turned for the worst. I kept thinking about our friends in the city who were destined to spend their nights outside in the cold windswept Milwaukee streets. Friends like John the optometrist and Frank the truck driver who we found 2 weeks ago under a porch of an abandoned building just west of Brady Street. John and Frank shared the space under layering their spot with cardboard and light sleeping bags along with several empty vodka bottles. If only I could find them shelter for the nights of below zero weather ahead of them. Most if not all shelters were full. Looking for them this Saturday their spot was empty of all the clothing, sleeping bags, and most important them. Thank God, hopefully they found shelter.
Cathy and I left early so we could search the alley ways and bridges in downtown Milwaukee before we met up with the truck at Ziedler. One man was making his way through the dumpsters behind Elsa’s. We stopped and talked to him for a time, he told us he’d meet up with us at the park. The park was busy as usual with a little more anxiety than I like to see. I made my rounds giving out hugs and assurances that we did our best to load the truck with warm clothing and bedding. I was freezing even though I was layered with all the newest warm weather gear. How do our friends survive this weather monster? One of my friends Nate told me it’s all about the layering of the concrete and once you’re in and under all the sleeping bags and quilts to stay put. At that point according to Nate your body heat takes over. And we are shedding covers in our houses because we’re too warm.
As the winter carries on, please remember our friends and the struggles it takes to keep warm. If possible go through your closets and see if you have a warm coat to donate. We have a bin right outside Advent Lutheran Church in Cedarburg.