A blanket can relieve a homeless person from the cold for just one night and maybe not more.
If it is raining or there is dew, the blanket will get wet and it will likely be difficult for its user to find a place to dry it, said Linda Mael, Red Door Kitchen volunteer coordinator at First Clarkston Christian Church.
In this case, the homeless often leave the blankets behind, she said. Blankets are bulky, especially if they’re wet, and since they usually already carry everything they own, they have to make some tough choices about what to go with them.
Sometimes they get them back later. Sometimes they don’t. And sometimes they go looking for them, but they have been turned down by government workers who find it increasingly difficult to keep up with what is abandoned by the homeless.
The complexity of how to help the homeless is something Mael tackled during the 15 years she coordinated growth services at the Red Door Kitchen, which serves free community meals almost every day. of the week.
Everyone is welcome, and while many people who dine at Red Door Kitchen are homeless, some eat there for other reasons, including elderly people without a spouse who enjoy company, she said. .
Since full services resumed in June after a reduction in hours due to the coronavirus, the Red Door Kitchen has served nearly 4,000 meals to about 400 people, Mael said.
St. Vincent De Paul and the Asotin County Food Bank were key contributors.
The effort began 15 years ago at the church, which has around 40 worshipers, she said.
“We are just starting to see the needs,” Mael said. “We believe that in faith things will be provided to us. “
The church is part of an informal network – run by volunteers and a handful of paid staff from nonprofit groups and religious organizations – aimed at helping homeless people in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley.
In the absence of free emergency shelters for adults, they focus on providing food and sheltered places from the elements during the day, as well as free showers and laundry facilities.
Here is a list of some of the resources available, as well as ways to donate:
Salvation Army, 1220 21st St., Lewiston
The Salvation Army offers free meals at 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and distributes boxes of food. This week only there will be a take out meal available from 11 am to noon for Thanksgiving. The Salvation Army has a hygiene center with laundry room and showers accessible exclusively by appointment. Typically, it takes about a week to get available slots by going through The Salvation Army in person or by calling (208) 746-9653. Those wishing to make a donation or wishing to obtain more information can visit lewiston.salvationarmy.org.
Red Door Kitchen, First Christian Church, 10th and Diagonal Street in Clarkston
Red Door Kitchen services include a complimentary lunch at noon Monday through Saturday, as well as a packed lunch for Saturday. It also offers a free dinner at 6:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
As soon as two or more volunteers are on hand for the free lunches, usually around 10 a.m., individuals are allowed to be inside until they have finished lunch. A hygiene center with shower and washing machine and dryer is available during this period on a first come, first served basis.
Donations are accepted at First Christian Church, 840 10th St., Clarkston, WA 99403. Mael recommends putting “Attention Red Door Kitchen” on the outside of the envelope or in the subject line of checks.
Dinner Church, 701 Bridge Street, Clarkston
Lewiston’s River City Church hosts a free dinner and distributes clothing and food items at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays during this church service, which takes place in Clarkston on the former Hay’s Produce location.
Donations are accepted at River City Church, 2102 Eighth St., Lewiston, ID 83501. Contributors are advised to put “Attention Dinner Church” on the outside of the envelope or in the subject line of checks.
LC Valley Youth Resource Center, 1633 10th Ave., Lewiston
The center provides free overnight accommodation, snacks, meals, showers, laundry facilities and clothing for children ages 12-17 who are enrolled in Lewiston or Clarkston schools. Children must meet at least one of the five criteria, such as being homeless, including when they are on the couch; experience a family crisis that threatens their security or emotional health; or have been asked to leave his home.
Donations are accepted at King’s Korner at 828 Main St. in Lewiston and lcvyrc.org, which also contains additional information such as what the center needs.
Asotin County Family Aquatic Center, 1603 Dustan Loop, Clarkston
The aquatic center offers free showers.
Two separate efforts are underway to provide overnight housing for homeless people in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. Both groups are already accepting donations.
Union Gospel Mission, 419 Snake River Ave., Lewiston
This group owns a thrift store at 419 Snake River Ave. in Lewiston and plans to establish a short-term, high-barrier overnight shelter for men, women and children who agree to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
The 100-bed facility would have room for around 70 women and children as well as 30 men, who would stay for days or weeks at a time until they were able to find employment and housing, receiving free meals and other services.
Donations are accepted at uniongospelmission.org/donate. The online portal offers donors the opportunity to designate their donation for a particular facility, including the one UGM is planning for Lewiston.
LC Valley Adult Resource Center, 1220 21st St. (in the auxiliary dining room)
The center is expected to open its doors the first week of December. It will provide overnight accommodation for up to 20 adults and children. Check-in will begin at 7:00 p.m. each evening and the center will close at 7:00 a.m. Staff will provide security during opening hours.