I write often of the kindnesses that can transform this camp into a special place even on a chilly, damp day. The generosity of strangers is always incredible to behold - and especially now as the weeks slowly turn to months and the days grow shorter and colder. These days an apprehension is often palpable at the encampment. What will come next? Does anyone care?
L to R: Beatrice, Nicole, Danny, Maya and Kristina from the University of MN Medical School.
Last Saturday a group of University of Minnesota medical students showed the residents of the camp that yes, this community really does care. Kristina, the main organizer or the group and a former intern at the Native American Community Clinic, wanted to do something to help out at the camp. She decided to tackle one of the most vexing issues facing the residents: laundry.
The group fanned out with bags and tags in tow asking residents if they had any laundry they needed done. People were elated. They bagged and tagged blankets, towels, and clothing - which the students then loaded in their cars. After a couple of hours at a nearby laundromat everything was washed, folded and re-bagged for delivery back to the encampment.
The students did much more than laundry last Saturday. I witnessed residents looking at them with incredulity - and then watched as the look of disbelief was transformed into one of gratitude and joy. Little things we all take for granted, like clean blankets and towels, are a big deal at the camp; the delicate smell and soft feel of freshly washed linens deeply comforting.
To offer to wash the clothes of the unsheltered is an act of radical kindness. I was moved by the service of these young students; the impact of their gift of compassion lives on in the hearts of those they helped.
Also - I want to shout out to Brava on Wheels Food Truck - who came to the camp and gave away free bowls of chicken and rice. And to the two other groups who provided meals this weekend, led by Jacqueline (chili and cornbread) and Alicia and Eleanore (soup with bread). So much generosity!
The proprietors of Brava on Wheels with James Cross of Natives Against Heroin.
Posted by Camille