It has been way too long since we have last blogged. It seems that life gets busy and the priority for blog writing is very low. Visitors from Minnesota helped since the last blog. One of our homeless friends admitted to having a crush on Diane. It was entertaining to say the least, to see his face turn red as cherry pie, when her name was mentioned in later weeks. Connie has been a great asset as well. Her kindness to our friends is always a welcomed site. Connie has taken a sabbatical from the weekly Shoulder the Cross endeavor due to her being a teacher at Austin’s Community College (ACC) and the new semester starting. She returns when she becomes available. Bryan is a new face to the ministry. Bryan lives in Bastrop. With the recent fires there, he has realized that there are many in need in Bastrop and all the surrounding cities. Bryan contacted us to see if he could help. Bryan is a frequent deputy for Shoulder the Cross now and is always there when his schedule permits it. Bryan found out quickly that apples are not a desired cuisine for our brothers and sisters on the street. Oral health is not a priority for most in need, so eating apples could do serious damage. We have had quite a few volunteer opportunities since the last blog as well. Volunteers from all walks of life have gathered to help sort through and organize donated clothing. The job of 2 taking more than 10 hours has been reduced to a mere 2 hours, thanks to volunteers and those who help Shoulder the Cross. Thanks to all who have helped in the past. Contact us if you would like to volunteer in the future. Thanks to the For the City Network, they have been providing the space for the clothes sorting. We are in talks with the Austin Stone Community Church to open up partnership opportunities with Shoulder the Cross.
We were surprised to see Christopher return to the streets of Austin. Christopher told us he has spent the past 3 years nursing his father back to health after a bout with cancer. He says his Dad is stronger now and is back to work at the age of 71. Christopher’s Boston accent is stronger than ever after his 3 year vacation in the Red Sox city. We heard from Gary and Rebecca at Christmas time. They have moved to Bastrop and say it is a nice place and a safe lifestyle. Tim still comes out to see us when he can. Ozzy is a nice site to see from time to time as well. Keith doesn’t come out as often as we would like, but he stays busy working odd and end jobs. Rudy has been a frequent face lately. He is always so quiet and polite, such a pleasure to see in the morning. Greg has been out helping with leaves and cleaning up on many occasions. Wayne is getting his teeth fixed. Scott, a great friend of Shoulder the Cross, is also a dentist. He does some pro-bono work for us and is giving Wayne a whole new set of teeth. Wayne had to raise just $500 for the procedure which normally costs $5000-$6000. It’s rare to see Wayne without a smile on his face lately. We can’t wait to see the final product.
On a sad note, we have lost several of our homeless friends since we last blogged. Dogman, one of the favorites, passed away recently. He will be remembered for his prototypical beard and the guitar he could never part from. We also lost Sam. Sam was always a friendly face to see. He was one of the most kind and gentle men you could ever meet. Unfortunately his addictions finally overwhelmed him. His death was shocking and very sad. Last but certainly not least, Mark Wolfe. I am consistently queried on Mark. “Make sure to tell him hello” they say. Mark was very technical and was the go-to guy for any technical questions or fixes. Mark hid his drinking from almost everyone. This is what eventually took him to the mighty kingdom. Had we found out he had this problem, we may have been able to help.
We hope to be better at blogging in the future. Hope to see some of you real soon with our volunteer opportunities.
Dogman. -May he rest in peace.