Preparing for Winter: Creating a Comprehensive Emergency Shelter Plan for our Unsheltered Homeless Neighbors

There has been a lot of talk over the last 2-3 years about a legitimate plan to get people off the streets when inclement weather hits Arkansas.  There’s been talk amongst LR city officials, churches, and other homeless service agencies and organizations.  Yet winter is close again and nothing has been done.  So a few of us are acting.  An effort to create an actual plan is being made by The Van in partnership with Canvas Community Church, The 10/20 Project, and DRB Legacy Outreach, Inc. – SOAR Network.

This is a huge undertaking and we’re going to need a lot of help to pull it off.  Here are some ways that we are looking for people to help:

  • SITES – Locations to provide temporary shelter when inclement winter weather hits central Arkansas.  Ideally, we need a place in SWLR and a place in downtown that could commit to opening their doors.  We are strongly encouraging churches to consider partnering in this way.  We’re partnering with all kinds of churches so don’t be afraid to join the party!  First Pres Argenta has committed to taking in families and Levy Church of Christ has committed to help special needs during times of non-inclement weather. We are working to have everything worked out so that all you would need to do is open the doors.  We’d cover the rest, all the way to cleanup when the weather clears.  If interested, contact us by clicking here. 
  • STAFFING – Volunteers to work shifts at site locations, cook meals, provide security, and process orders of needs in our warehouse.  If you’d like to get on an email list that we will use to contact volunteers when the time comes and as we prepare, shoot us an email with your info and how you’d like to help at warmingshelter@welovelittlerock.org
  • FOOD/MEALS – We need to start stockpiling food now.  #10 cans of veggies, noodles, rice, dry beans, frozen meats.  Food trucks that would be willing to brave the elements and come help us with some meals would be amazing.  Restaurants that would like to pitch in would also be huge.  Everything given will be tax deductible.  You can drop off donations at our warehouse (8016 Faulkner Lake Rd, NLR 72117) or contact us by clicking here.  
  • DRIVES – One really huge way that ANYONE can help is to organize a drive.  We are going to be needing tons of in-donations such as cots, blankets, pillows, pillow cases, socks, gloves, underwear, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, coats, chap stick, etc.  Hit up your family/friends/coworkers/church/club/or anyone else.  Throw a party!  Organize a fundraiser.  Then just give us a shout and we’ll work out getting the stuff to the warehouse.  Easiest way anyone can help.
  • FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS –  If you’d like to help monetarily to cover fuel or any other specific needs that arise through this process, you can do that by clicking here.  Donations are tax deductible.

Thank you to everyone for always supporting this work.  This community is so amazing and really knows how to show people love.  

canvas

10 20soar

 

First Family in Our Women’s House Featured on THV

As many of you know, we’ve been working to create a safe place for unsheltered homeless women/mothers in Central Arkansas. We’re pleased to tell you that this work has finally paid off. Thank you to THV for telling the story.

How You Can Help The Van!

VanLogoWe’ve had a lot of interest lately from folks who want to help. We wanted to share one of the biggest, most important ways that folks could help us out right now…

Not only did we just put our first family in the women’s house, but we are also working with several other local organizations/churches to create a comprehensive emergency warming shelter plan for central Arkansas (more info coming on this soon). These two things combined will greatly increase our need for “stuff” in the coming months. The biggest way you can help us right now is to start a drive. Get your group, church, club, family, or business to start a drive. Throw a party and ask your guests to bring items. Whatever you can think of. This effort has always been very grassroots and this is one way we’ve always been able to get a lot of the community involved. We have a big warehouse and we’re going to be working hard to get it filled up and ready with things like:

toilet paper
paper towels
cleaning supplies (bleach, pine sol, etc.)
hand soap
laundry soap
dish soap
canned food items (pop top preferred)
socks, regular and wool (new preferred)
underwear (must be new)
gloves
chap stick
razors
shaving cream
blankets
sleeping bags
tents
dry beans
rice
noodles/pasta

 

Thank you so much to everyone who supports this work.  YOU make it all possible.  If you decide to get a drive organized, let us know by using the contact section here on the website so that we can make arrangements to get the stuff to the warehouse once your drive ends. If you’d simply like to donate on your own, feel free to drop things off at our warehouse, at 8016 Faulkner Lake Rd, North Little Rock, AR 72117

If you’d like to contribute monetarily, you can do that by clicking here.

You asked for it. You got it! The Van tank-tops are in!

Just like our t-shirts, but without sleeves.  Just the way it should be in the summertime.  These are high quality, American Apparel unisex tanks.  Show off your guns and your support for The Van!  Order yours below for 20 bucks plus shipping, and help us stay out there serving our unsheltered homeless neighbors.

Unfortunately we could only get them in sizes S, M, L, XL.  Really sorry we don’t have bigger sizes.  We’re not happy about that either.

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Sizes



Get Your “The Van” Hoodie Here!


Sizes



 

The Van Hoodie

 

THE VAN: Current Needs and Wish List 10/3/13

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Please share this post to get the word out and let’s meet some needs this winter!  

Current needs as we move into fall/winter and the temps are dropping (and will continue to drop) at night:

Tents

Tarps

Sleeping bags

Blankets

Coats (all sizes)

Socks

New underwear (all sizes)

Gloves

Batteries (all sizes for flashlights and weather radios)

Working AND nonworking refrigerators

Fuel cards (well, because we are a mobile resource and use a lot of gas)

 

Current “wishlist” or things that would help us serve our homeless neighbors:

Lumber to build more shelving and hanging racks in the warehouse (2×4’s, plywood, pvc)

Pallet jack

Metal shelving or racks

Spotlight for The Van

 

Drop off locations for donations are listed HERE.

And of course you can always support our efforts financially HERE.  We sincerely appreciate all of you who continue to make these efforts possible!  Much love, y’all!

-Aaron

Christmas Karaoke…..SUCCESS!!

 We really hate it for you if you missed it!  What a blast!  Our very first fundraiser, after all this time, worked!  Thanks to many of you who made it, and several who couldn’t, we reached our matching $2,500 grant from Modern Woodmen.  Thanks to you all, we had over a $5,000 night.  Y’all are so incredible!

A few mentions and thanks:

Modern Woodmen, thank you so much for this matching grant!!  This is huge, and will go a long way this winter!  Love ya Marsha!!

Sweet Love Bakes, thank you for the awesome spread of sweets for our silent auction!  It did great!!  You rock, Kelli!!

Swearingen Family, thank for the personalized “The One, Inc.” iPod!  It did well also.  Love y’all!

Stephen Cefalo, thank you for the incredible drawing!  It did VERY well, and was a huge help in reaching our goal.

Jacob Slaton Photography, thanks for the photo session for the silent auction, man!  Somebody will be very pleased!!

CWP Productions, for providing all the lighting and sound for our DJ to rock it out on!!  Love ya Chris!

Ryan Byrd, for doing some stellar design work for us!  You’re a beast.

Thank you again to EVERYONE who made this possible!  I’m sure I’m forgetting something/someone.  Please forgive me if so.  

Can’t Attend Christmas Karaoke? You Can Still Help Us Reach Our Matching Grant!

This Saturday is our Christmas Karaoke for The Van!  Many have said that they will be traveling, etc. and unable to attend.  Never fear!!  You can still help us reach this goal, which is a $5,000 night!  If you give using this link between now and Saturday, you’re money will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2,500!!  Thank you all so much for all the support you’ve shown us over the last couple years!  You’re all amazing!




Christmas Karaoke to benefit The Van!

We have been awarded a matching grant from Modern Woodmen for up to $2,500 for this event.  We would love to see you there! There are ONLY 100 tickets so please be sure to get yours quick.  They are available at:

 

Sweet Love Bakes

 

8210 Cantrell Rd in Little Rock

 

OR

 

Bob’s Pawn Shop

 

3713 MacArthur Drive in North Little Rock

Hello Sherwood!!

SHERWOOD:

We’re pleased to announce a new “official” donation drop-off spot in your neck of the woods.

Brian Thompson Shelter Insurance
9903 Brockington Rd., Ste 103
Sherwood, AR 72120

Please begin overloading Brian with blankets/coats/socks immediately!! :)  And give his facebook page a “like” here:  http://facebook.com/brianthompsonagency