A wonderful thank you to the 13 volunteers who came out for the pre-packing yesterday and for today's distribution. Every single one of our 150 bags went out over the course of our two locales.
Along with the main bags, which included additional food items like oatmeal for the first time in a while, we had 42 lbs of bananas, 8 gallons of coffee, and 5 gallons of hot water that recipients could use for their oatmeal, noodles, or to make a cup of tea (which we had plenty of)....
A HUGE thank you to the donors to the wishlist and our PayPal (AustinAHH.org/donate) for coming through in a big way to make this event possible. We can't forget our amazing Foundation Beyond Belief , I Support the Girls - Austin , and Freethinkers Association of Central Texas for their continued support. We went to a new locale for the first time which was further south under Ben White. We were able to give bus passes to all recipients, as a part of our Transit Assistance Program (powered by awesome, local unhoused outreach groups); every time we do a distribution of passes, you can see right in front of you the hope and joy that it gives to people.
At all of our giveaways, we typically will talk with different recipients to find out more about what's happening in their lives, regarding any enforcement activities, etc. At our new location, there was a gentleman who said "You know, this is the first time someone has spoke to me like a human being in months." He went on to talk about being mistreated and shunned by Austin folks, such as a store owner locking their front door upon seeing him approaching. Hideously, he relayed that he had to flash a $20 bill in order to be let in the establishment. Regardless of where you stand on shelters or camping or anything else, always ensure that you keep at the forefront of your mind that these are human beings, first and foremost. If somebody's at a street corner and you have nothing to offer at the moment, you can still nod your head and acknowledge that they exist. Even the smallest of gestures can mean a lot.
Bus passes will return once again on the first Sunday in June. Until then, we'll see you on April 2nd and the 3rd for the prepacking and distribution, respectively. Thank you all and we'll see you soon!!
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless
www.AustinAHH.org / www.Atheists.Help