VICTORVILLE – A quick wipe over his eyebrow, a man in the downtown Victorville area wiped away some sweat on the 110-degree day. The man looked defeated, alone and almost disoriented until a voice says, “Sir, would you like some water?”. The man looked up, almost like he was awakened partially from what somehow became of his life. Over and over the people encountered for the several-day effort, had a similar reaction.
A man, a woman, and two preteens exited the parked car all with small gifts from the community for the homeless men, women and pets. The gifts were just a little something to show them that people cared. Earlier that day the community worked together to gather cash (for water), bottled water, and snacks for the men, women and even homeless animals. Everyone would have offered to physically help but some were not able to because of work, a lack of transportation or several other reasons. A few people and even a business offered was $20 here, $40 there, a case of water and several snacks.
The group of deliverers took a couple of bottled waters, a jar of mandarin oranges, a pack of almonds, a spoon and a baggie of wet wipes for each homeless person they encountered those days. The crew went to approximately ten locations where homeless men and women set up small homeless camps when they were forced to move after the closure of the Mojave Riverbed area near Stoddard Wells Road in Victorville.
The move made some of the community relieved because of the violent crime and filth that became of what was once a beautiful area. It was not the fault of those who lived there, living without sanitation, and trash pickup it is what would become of most in the same given situation. The crime was not the work of all but that of some. The vast majority of those who are chronically homeless suffer from battles of addiction, mental health disorders, and many have criminal backgrounds. Those who care for the homeless care for people and realize that these men and women regardless of their past, present or future need food, water, and the very basics.
Before the move, the County mental health team, the Sheriff’s H.O.P.E. team and many other went on a regular basis over around a year’s time to offer assistance to anyone who was willing to accept it. There was help for every type but the process was long and one would have to be willing to work hard to get back on the track to self-sufficiency and with home. Some feared the team of people that showed up to help while others closed out the offers feeling as though they were asking them to give up their freedom go to a shelter where there would be structure. Several people took the help but most did not.
Others in the community were upset, and some outright angry that those with so little were forced to move from the only home that they knew. These people were out of the public’s eye minding their own business they thought. Signs were posted with a date and some who lived there ignored the date until only a few days before the moving day came. Few had transportation and a lot had permanent setups, including those with makeshift homes with fencing around just like a regular home.
The calls for service for warming fires that went out of control, rapes, assaults, murders and other serious to less serious crime made the Sheriff’s Department realize they were making possibly the only choice to help save these and other people from harm.
Regardless of what side people were on, or if they really took no side, most would agree that with temperatures in the triple digits these people and their pets needed water and at least a small snack. As the group who delivered made their way through the area making contact with these men and women their guard was let down, relief came over their face and even those who were mentally ill and under the influence smiled and thanked the team.
The team of both adults and juveniles returned the smile and just the little gesture from the Victor Valley community helped make at least those days a little happier, a little better and may very well be what it takes to show these people that they are not alone. The delivery team still has water and some funds left for another few rounds of deliveries if you know areas other than the Old Town Victorville area where homeless men and women stay please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to donate water, snacks, or baby wipes please also email. As a community we can and will make a positive difference providing not only snacks, and water but resources hoping that these men and women find the strength to accept the help still available to them.
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- homeless-feeding2: file
- homeless-2: Gary Martin
- riverbed3: Gary Martin
- homeless-3: Christie Martin