Today was quite the long day, but my goodness was it a good one.
As always, a huge shout-out to the volunteers who came out for the pre-packing and distribution; you all make it happen month after month!! 162 bags headed out all around Austin this time around. Donations came in from all over the place, like from local Austinites in the form of HotHands hand warmers to multiple bags of clothes to men's and women's shoes galore!!!
Requests from last month included flashlights/lighting so we also came with lanterns. These can be charged via a wall outlet, hand crank, or by solar power and last up to 35 hours on the full charge. Plus, it can be used to charge the recipient's phone as well. Folks living in wooded areas needed them the most, so we reserved them specifically for that area. Speaking of high needs, we also gave out 31-day bus passes to all recipients in all four locales. The level of gratitude and surprise these passes still generate is a testament to how important a role they play in the lives of our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness, and we're so fortunate to be able to continue doing so with the aid of our Austin community groups.
Even more, each bag contained a pair of thermal socks, winter hat and gloves as our Texas winter slowly approaches, fresh face masks, and even tweezers!
In addition to our primary locale at I-35, Zaragoza Park, Hwy 290, and Pleasant Valley were also included. The last of those had a heavy focus on providing lighting and gallon jugs of water for those living further off the grid.
A huge shout-out to Foundation Beyond Belief for helping to purchase food items, to I Support the Girls - Austin for providing muscle and hygiene supplies for those who menstruate, and to Freethinkers Association of Central Texas for the USB chargers that accompanied each of the 30 lanterns.
Please consider visiting austinahh.org/donate to contribute to our ongoing efforts. You can also visit http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/.../austin-atheists.../ to give a tax-deductible contribution. Every little bit helps as we are fueled by the generosity of our organizers, volunteers, and donors just like you.
The next pre-pack will occur on New Year's Day at 3pm (yep, really), with the distribution to happen on the 2nd. See you all then and have a wonderful New Year!!
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless
www.AustinAHH.org / www.Atheists.Help