This week has been short but extremely eventful at OSN and beyond!
The severe weather called us to open our shelter and subsequently see many more walk ins and such in our office. I gave one gentleman some nice wool socks and he was so overjoyed he was hugging them and commenting on their quality. Moments before one of the other staff gave a woman a new beautiful jacket who was reluctant to take any y handouts. After a few moments of waiting for her appointment and wearing her hew coat she began to boast about how beautiful it was (it matched her outfit perfectly) and how thrilled she was to have a new coat. Every few moments or so she would comment about how happy she was about this new jacket. These items are necessities. To have such gratitude for the necessities of life is indicative of the challenges our people face in the cold months.
Wednesday I spent some time at the Catholic Charities/UPMC event Our Hearts to Your Soles. This event is coordinated by Catholic Charities to give new high quality shoes and foot care to the most vulnerable people in our community. Nonprofits who work with at risk populations gave vouchers out to their clients who all gathered in the welcome center of CC to receive warm shoes, a light breakfast, jackets, outerwear and some time in a warm safe space. The clientele varied from elderly, refugee/immigrants, and various ages of homeless and at risk families. Bonnie, one of the CC coordinators dubbed this event “one big hug” to start off the holiday season. I met beautiful people all morning, received hugs and helped them find what they needed. It was a beautiful day of giving and gratitude. I only wish that this spirit of giving could be emulated all year round. Generosity is always welcome, but I wish for the world to pursue generosity and gratitude every day, not just in the season of Thanksgiving, advent and Christmas!
Thanksgiving Day was started by Chris and I watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and eating one too many cinnamon rolls as we tried to find our friends on the sideline of the route! We then met his family friend Bishop Lynch downtown for Thanksgiving lunch. Bishop Lynch knew two of my friends in the ND ACE program so that was a small world! It was a lovely dinner and time spent with two great dudes! After they spent some time together and I was picked up by my friend Ben where we set off to see our fellow coworker for thanksgiving at her house. I was immensely grateful to spend my day at a home and with some of the people I care about in Pittsburgh if I could not be home! My night ended at SWES working the clinic. The Steelers were on so the early evening was fairly uneventful and pleasant as all the gentlemen were invested in watching their football team play. They all received thanksgiving dinner from our staff and a warm place to sleep. By no means is SWES an ideal place for anyone, but it beats the miserable cold and wetness outside for most.
This weekend was relaxing and uneventful, but a few of us did go ice skating for the first time this season! It was great to get back outside and enjoy the time with some of my lovely Pitt Pals!