Aug 28, 2021

Days of our lives during August!

 (Notes from the team about client progress, events, news)

Mon 8/2 -- Six clients braved the rain to come for needed supplies. Thank you to volunteers Amanda Hyde and Rachel Durkin-Drga (pictured) for organizing our third floor arts room, and thanks to Keep Austin Fed for the sesame orange glazed pork, rice and veggies for clients! We have begun outreach in East Austin on Mondays.
   The rainy weather today actually was a boon: We served three groups by stopping at two locations -- near the Boggy Creek Greenbelt and under the parking cover at a boarded-up Sonic near the HEB on East 7th Street. Clients included two older folks who got meals and referrals for housing through HACA.
   We served all of them meals, toiletries and canned food. We explained what we do, gave out flyers and answered questions that they asked about Jesus. All reported dangerous situations and one was healing from gunshot wounds.

Tue 8/3 --  Today was a nice, cool, overcast day with 12 clients looking for snacks to help make it through the day. One told about maintaining housing, and another told us of prospects for a new job.
   Our men’s group today was a hybrid, with both in-person and on-line participants joining us in the newly dubbed “hideout” inside our Drop-in Center. All first-time participants get SYMinU (SYMin University) credits sufficient for a weekly bus pass. Great donations came today from St. Luke's of the Lake Episcopal Church near Steiner Ranch. Included were coloring books from a local Austin illustrator.

Wed 8/4 -- Seventeen clients dropped by today, one of them newly homeless, to get food and learn what services were available. Thank you to Jean and Dennis Brender for generous food donations!

Thu 8/5 --Today was cloudy and overcast with a little rain early, but it stopped before we closed and gave us enough time to serve nine visitors. The food bags given to some included items with pop-tops, ready to eat!

 “Cooking with Yoly” class today taught us to make delicious tuna salad sandwiches with our camping bag supplies and some very special homemade pickles! Participants shared food and cooking stories, and Terry was our tester. A tough job!
Fri 8/6 --Today, a mess outside greeted us when we arrived at the drop-by, but when clients realized we would not open unless it was cleaned up, they took action and did the job! Eleven of them managed to get food and service as a result. One client redeemed SYMinU points for a Bluetooth wireless headphone. Rosie and Terry were able to connect with four clients in San Marcos

Mon 8/9 -- Thirteen clients came today, and one of them wants to go back to high school and turn his life around. Interns Emma and Molei made some paper fans as part of Chill Week, and clients loved them!
   Terry and Rosie worked East Austin, spreading the word about SYMin services for young adults 28 and under. At the drop-by, we gave out 20 meals, cold water and lots of clothing and toiletries. Keep Austin Fed provided meals of teriyaki meat balls, rice and veggies.
    A wonderful youth group from Christ Church of Austin joined us to learn what we do and why it matters. Then they helped decorate our planters and make a new trash can for visitors.

Tue 8/10 -- Today we welcomed 13 visitors to the drop-by. One received a bag with frozen meats and veggies; all were looking to fulfill daily needs, including clothing and a hot meal. Unfortunately, an illegal camp re-appeared overnight in front of our walkway, and for a time it looked like an old “skid row.” SYMin will not open while camping and littering the sidewalk and walkways prevent safe access for our clients.
   Austin Public Health gave its fifth vaccination clinic this summer for us, and five clients received their shots so they could work, not worry about getting COVID later, support their decision to turn their lives around better, and receive a small gift card as a thank you from SYMin.
    Wed 8/11 --  It took a while before the clients understood we would not open for service until camps were cleared from the walkways around the drop-by. We stayed closed 1.5 hours while homeless neighbors cleaned the area; eight clients received food and drink once we were able to open.
    Thu 8/12 -- Today the illegal camp was present and quite unsanitary when we first arrived at 11, so opening was delayed ‘til 12:30. We had to close early at 3 p.m. because of overcrowding at our gate with loud noise and inability to mask or keep social distance, but we made sure anyone who came specifically to see us was served. We had two visitors in the Cooking with Yoly class; they earned enough SYMinU bonus points for weekly bus passes and helped make sandwiches for visitors too old to receive other services. The team celebrated our summer intern Emma Ward and wished her good luck as she leaves to return to school, where she is studying to be a teacher.

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