My name is Shilo Wells, and I am a Homeless Access Transportation (HAT) driver for Hospitality House. I help connect people who are struggling with homelessness reach the resources they need, whether that involves a grocery run, doctor’s appointment, an AA meeting, getting to work or dropping off an application for housing. I transport people who are currently living on the streets, those staying at our shelter, Utah’s Place, and low-income housed locals who lack transportation. However, thanks to a recent grant from Agency on Aging Area 4, our ability to transport homeless and housed individuals has just expanded with transportation services now available to low-income older adults, ages 60 and up, on Sundays, in addition to during the week. Previously, we had no weekend support. Calls for service vary by the day but on busier days, I have given up to 47 individual rides, so the need for transportation is high in our community.
While shuttling people from place to place, I sometimes get a chance to learn a little about them, and even see the progression from homeless to happily housed. Today I’d like to share about one such guest, who I’ll refer to as Walter Daisy. Over the course of three months of weekly grocery trips, I learned that Walter was a Vietnam veteran. He hinted at the struggles he experienced upon returning home from war and how he eventually ended up living in a camper. After 20 years of full-time use, the camper was eventually beyond repair and Walter became homeless. He stayed in a motel for a brief period, but as money ran out, he contacted Hospitality House. When Walter was moved into Sierra Guest Home, one of Hospitality House’s transitional living solutions, he was so grateful.
Throughout his time at Sierra Guest Home, Walter consistently showed appreciation for the kindness shown by staff and the warm, nutritious meals served daily. He took nothing for granted. So, when recently, Walter was able to move into new, permanent housing, I felt lucky to be a part of his moving crew. It was incredible to see his sheer excitement mixed with a tinge of nervousness, as we unloaded his few and humble belongings into the one-bedroom apartment. When I asked him about how he was feeling, he said that he couldn’t believe that he got to live in this beautiful home. He questioned his worthiness, and explained that, to him, this place was a mansion.
To help more people like Walter find a home of their own, please consider joining our Hearts & Hands Club today. Hearts & Hands Club is a group of compassionate people who donate every month to support the efforts of Hospitality House. Club donations are allocated toward the greatest needs each month, including but not limited to shelter, food, clothing, outreach, case management, and help with permanent housing. You can become an honored club member by donating as little as $5 per month and change a life in the process. This month we have an ambitious goal to welcome 28 new Hearts & Hands Club members in just 28 days. Please consider becoming our next member and sign up at https://hhshelter.org/donate/
A big thank you to Hilary Dart for grocery shopping for the shelter this week. And to the cook team, Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, who came to the shelter last Friday and served up their delicious enchilada pie, carrots, coleslaw and ice cream and dessert—a popular meal among the guests! Also, we continue to express gratitude for Bill Blount for his ongoing spiritual support at Utah’s Place and Sierra Guest Home. If you’d like to volunteer, individually or with a group, we welcome you to email us at email@example.com or call (530) 615-0852.
Now down to the shelter’s wish list of the week:
- Twin-size blankets – URGENT NEED
- Pain relievers (Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin, etc.) –New & Unopened – URGENT NEED
- New pillows (we are unable to accept used)
- Men’s winter coats, jackets and hoodies (all – sizes; no women’s attire at this time)
- Granola bars
DONATION HOURS AND DROPOFF LOCATION: With construction finally complete at our shelter, effective immediately, donations from our needs list above and all unexpired/store-bought foods are now being accepted at Utah’s Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30am – 3:30pm and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Our shelter is located 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945. We greatly appreciate the community’s help at such times of uncertainty. In the words of Utah Phillips, “If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need.” Thank you!