Armed with coolers of cold lemonade and peppermint water spray bottles in the scorching 103 degree heat of July, or hot beverages in the chill of February, we have now been in Salt Lake City during every season. Like the other cities we serve, SLC has a growing homeless population. We have been able to focus on reaching the people who may need our assistance the most – people with medical conditions or vulnerabilities that motivate them to stay at a safe distance from the heart of the homeless population.
We begin the distribution day along the outskirts of the densest part of the homeless population and at dusk, we bring the remainder of our supplies and food to an area a manageably safe distance from the crowded shelter areas. We’ve found that the criminal element among the homeless tend to prey on the more vulnerable in these densely populated zones, so the safe distance is best for those who need our help the most, as well as for the security of our distributors.
It has become a tradition to use what remains of our cash donations to pay for hot beverages and sodas at a supportive convenience store many of the homeless frequent. While handing out the last of our supplies and food, we spend time enjoying a social hour with volunteers and clients. It’s a little time to decompress after a long rewarding day.