Recently, an article was featured in the University Place Press and the Tacoma Weekly about our homeless outreach group, Lenny and the DreamMakers. We were so grateful for the introduction to our local community and for the exposure it provided our group. As a result, we received both donations and volunteers. We had our most recent event, which we call our “capers,” on July 23. We want to share with you our experiences of that day and hopefully show you why we do it and why it means so much to us.
Saturday was another gorgeous Washington day. Thirteen of our members gathered to load all of the donations collected and the food purchased into the vehicles. We went to Adam’s Street Shelter first, where we encountered families and many children. We then went to Nativity House, a day shelter where those struggling with homelessness can get a shower and some food. It was an amazing few hours. On our last caper, we were only able to give out 60 sandwiches due to finances. This caper, thanks to a great fundraiser, we were able to give out twice that amount. We met around 150 people that day. In addition to the sandwiches and other food, we gave out blankets, sleeping bags, handmade waterproof mats, socks, sandals, toiletries, homemade pillowcases and much more. For the kids, we had special goodies that included a toy and healthy snacks.
After each caper we come away with such joy from meeting so many people who are varied in their experiences and what ultimately occurred in their lives to bring on the challenge of homelessness. Despite their current situation, we are humbled by their spirit that refuses to give up. The gratitude expressed for anything that makes their difficult situation a little easier was immensely touching. So many expressed their disbelief that someone, anyone, would take the time to do something for them. Many were especially touched by the handmade pillowcases. Imagine, a simple pillowcase making an impact in someone's life. It perfectly illustrates our Mission Statement: “Face to Face, Hand to Hand, Heart to Heart. Touching one life at a time with simple acts of kindness.”
We also realize the need is still great, and frankly, never ending. We continue to strive to do more, to reach more people. At Adam’s Street shelter, they put up flyers for us to advertise when we will be coming. At Nativity House, we recently made an important contact that will help with the process and ensure we reach as many people as possible. Seeing all the children prompted us to add in another caper. We chose to do a back to school event. We are in the process of obtaining backpacks, pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, anything a child needs to be prepared for school. School can be challenging enough without worrying about having the necessary supplies. We can take away one source of stress for these kids who already have so much on their young shoulders.
Thank you to all who have joined us in touching lives in our community. If you would like to follow our group as we strive each day to fulfill our Mission Statement, please visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lennyandthedreammakers. If you wish to help more directly, please visit our GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/v5p4sqp5. Together, we can make a difference. We can acknowledge those who often feel unseen and bring a moment of humanity and hope to those who feel forgotten.
Lisa Kane is a volunteer with Lenny and the DreamMakers.