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.  

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10 20soar

 

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.

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

Please Help Us Reach Beyond Homelessness, To Provide Kids With Coats

It’s more than obvious that our main objective is to serve the un-sheltered homeless population.

But people in need extend far beyond that scope.  Which is why we remain very flexible in our mission to serve.

Each year we collect thousands of coats to distribute to those without one.  Last winter we were contacted by several schools about coats for their students who were without a coat in the dead of winter.  We worked hard and were able to provide many students with a warm coat.

This year is no different.  The challenge is back!  The Little Rock School District has reached out and asked for help with many of their students who have no coat to keep them warm, and we know that others will be reaching out soon as well.

Like most of you, we’d love nothing more than to lash out at parents who let their kids go without.  As reality would have it, that accomplishes nothing and children are still cold.

Cold at school.  Cold after school.  Cold at bus stops before and after school.  And it is simply not their fault.  So, we need your help to provide for them.

Here are a few ways you can help:

1.  Order coats online from Goodshop.  Here you can receive significant discounts and often free shipping, and with each purchase a percentage is donated to our organization.  So you’re providing coats directly, and helping us with the operations of getting them where they need to go.  To do this, please click HERE.

2.  Obviously if you have children of your own, you know how quickly they outgrow their coats each year.  If you have the coats they’ve outgrown, please take a little time and drop those off at any of our drop-off locations listed HERE.

3.  We continuously get requests for a coat for a sex/size that we just don’t have.  We refuse to ignore that need and will go and purchase a coat to meet that specific need.  Obviously that takes money, something we hate to ask for but must.  If you’d like to simply contribute financially to help us meet those needs, please use the donate button after you click HERE.  Please be sure that you specify that you want your support to go to coats when you process your donation.  If you prefer to mail a check, our mailing address is also listed on that link.

4.  PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.  We all know many people who have coats shoved away that we or our kids aren’t going to use.  Please ask around.  Send the link to this post in an email to friends or co-workers.  Tweet it, share it on Facebook.  Anything you can do to reach those that may be able to help is a BIG help to this effort.

We can’t thank you all enough for your support, love and prayers.  There’s no way that we could any of this stuff if it weren’t for you.  You’re all amazing!!

Current Needs and Wish List 11/21/11

We are frequently asked what our current needs are, and sometimes asked what we would wish for if we could have something to make our operations easier.

Here are a few things in both categories. And drop-off locations are listed HERE.

Immediate Needs:

Washers and Dryers (electric)

Bus Passes or Tokens for homeless friends needing transportation.

Fire Extinguishers for our warehouse and vehicles.

Pallet Jack or Forklift

Clothing Racks

Socks (men & women)

Underwear (men & women)

Razors and Shaving Cream

Tents

Sleeping bags

Gloves

Fuel cards

Refrigerators

Deep Freezes

*reminder* We do recycle aluminum cans and scrap metal to help fund our efforts. If you could help us save cans or have any junk metal, that would be an easy and effective way to help drive our ministry!

Wish List:

ATV – We are seeking some type of ATV that would allow us to haul large amounts of supplies through the woods to some of the homeless camps that we serve. This would save us a lot of time and allow us to serve more people.  We can only get our vans/trucks so close to most of the camps, and then haul firewood etc. in by hand.

Box truck – As we continue growing, we receive more and more bulk donations. We are “wishing” for a box truck that would equip us to pick up larger donations and those that come on pallets.

Vans – One of our big missions is to establish more “Vans” in more places. The number of requests for help that we are getting from other geographic areas is increasing. In order to serve these people, we need more vans. If you would like to donate an old (or new) van, or contribute to the purchase of more vans, please let us know!

Current Needs and Wish List 10/19/11

We are frequently asked what our current needs are, and sometimes asked what we would wish for if we could have something to make our operations easier.

Here are a few things in both categories.  And drop-off locations are listed HERE.

Immediate Needs: 

Coats (men, women, & children)

Socks (men & women)

Underwear (men & women)

Tents

Sleeping bags

Firewood for homeless camps

Clothing racks

Pallet racks

Fuel cards

Kroger cards

*reminder* We do recycle aluminum cans and scrap metal to help fund our efforts.  If you could help us save cans or metal, that would be an easy and effective way to help drive our ministry!  

 

Wish List:

ATV – We are seeking some type of ATV that would allow us to haul large amounts of supplies through the woods to some of the homeless camps that we serve.  This would save us a lot of time and allow us to serve more people.

Box truck – As we continue growing, we receive more and more bulk donations.  We are “wishing” for a box truck that would equip us to pick up larger donations and those that come on pallets.

Vans – One of our big missions is to establish more “Vans” in more places.  The number of requests for help that we are getting from other geographic areas is increasing.  In order to serve these people, we need more vans.  If you would like to donate an old (or new) van, or contribute to the purchase of more vans, please let us know!

 

Current Needs and Wish List 9/5/11

We are frequently asked what our current needs are, and sometimes asked what we would wish for if we could have something to make our operations easier.

Here is are a few things in both categories….

Needs:

-New Underwear (men’s and women’s, all sizes)
-Bras (can be used, if clean and in good shape)
-Bottled water
-Rain gear (ponchos, umbrellas, etc.)
-First-aid kits (need at least one in each vehicle, and one at each camp)
-Fire extinguishers (need to have one in each vehicle)
-Tankless water heater for mobile shower unit
-Bicycles
-Places to put a donation drop-off box (churches or businesses)
-Places to sell our wristbands and t-shirts
-Cordless framing nail gun
-Wheelchairs

Wish List:

-Industrial/warehouse size shelving
-Box-truck with lift for picking up large donations and pallets of goods
-Centrally located warehouse space
-An accountant who would donate some time to help us with record keeping
-Small amount of land to set up our travel trailers that we’ll use to get people out of the elements immediately

Mobile Shower / Laundry Trailer Project

In addition to “The Van”, we have decided that our homeless friends’ need for accessible showers and laundry units has gone on long enough.  We are constructing a mobile unit that will offer 1 handicap shower and 1 single shower, along with 6 stacking washer/dryer combos.

“The Trailer”, as it has so appropriately been dubbed, will also keep on hand an array of fresh clothing from shoes to undergarments and any needed hygiene products.The Trailer will be pulled by “Frank the Tank” our Ford F-350 to various locations so that our friends can regain the dignity needed to rise above their current circumstances.
If Christ Himself was willing to wash dirty feet, surely we can at least offer a way for our friends to wash their bodies.
Our goal of $7,000 is no small goal, but the price of lumber and materials are not so small either.  Included in this amount is an opportunity for some of our homeless friends who have no income, to do some of the work on The Trailer and make themselves some money.
It’s a win/win.  Homeless friends get to make money by making a way for all of our homeless friends to be able to shower and wash their clothes.
We hope that you will support this effort.  Thank you all so much!!

Click Here to Donate!!!

The One, Inc. will provide contribution forms for your giving so that you may also enjoy the tax benefit.

Current Needs: Plastic Storage Containers

We are in the process of organizing our storage facility and while Aaron would never ask for anything that couldn’t directly be transferred to our homeless friends like food, clothing, supplies, etc., I will take this opportunity to go behind his back and do so…

When we load out the van to go to homeless camps to hand out supplies such as hygiene products, shoes, underwear, food, clothing, etc., we typically use cardboard boxes. As you well know cardboard doesn’t hold up well over time and we probably have one of the saddest collections of cardboard boxes in the world. My wife recently made the suggestion that we transition into using the transparent, plastic, stackable storage containers. In fact, we donated about a half dozen or so that we had around the house toward the cause and they have proven to make Aaron and Lane’s job a lot easier.

If you have any transparent storage containers laying around that you would like to donate to the cause, please drop us a comment below and we will make arrangements to pick them up from you.

If you are unsure what exactly I am talking about, here’s a link to some that are available from Office Depot online…

Thanks so much!!
Cotton Rohrscheib

Help Keep the Van Rolling…

Thank you so much everybody, for your love and support of this effort!  We could do NOTHING without your help.  I set a goal here of a rough estimate of what it is going to cost to keep The Van going through the remainder of 2011.  This estimate is based ONLY on fuel costs, insurance, and oil changes.  Hopefully The Van won’t face any major needs outside of that.  If it does, well then the amount it will take to keep it going would change, naturally.  I have so much love for you guys and beg you to please come and write on The Van if you see it out and about!!  :)

Make a Donation to Keep the Van Rolling!!!