Let’s review the winter we just had: It was bitterly cold, near Arctic at times. We invented a new way to describe this cold -- polar vortex. Temperatures plummeted on a regular basis deep into subzero conditions and all of that before the wind blew, making it feel like Mother Nature was trying to saw you in half. Did I mention that was just during the day? Right! There are two parts to a 24-hour period, day and night. Truth be told, at that time of year there’s more night than day, which means you’re spending more time in the colder temps at night ... if you’re homeless.
I’m fortunate. I have a home that is well insulated and efficient, which means I can choose to stay in on a very cold day. But how would I survive if I was in the less fortunate category? How would I stay warm when the rest of the world is Facebooking pictures of car thermometers reading -20? That’s real, very real. While you and I are snapping pictures, people are outside with no way to escape it. If they’ve been doing that for a while I guess it becomes common and they know how to navigate around it, but let’s say someone is new to it, maybe that person got laid off through no fault of their own and now they find themselves homeless. What does that person feel like?
I’m sure on a -20 degree night with the wind howling and nothing but a tent (maybe) to protect you from the elements you have to start feeling that sickening feeling that you may or may not make it through the night. If you can, try and wrap your head around that, try and think that through no fault of your own a set of circumstances unfolded and redirected you to a point where you could possibly freeze to death! Imagine it, then remember you are most likely in a place to help. And here’s how.
On May 9, we will once again gather on the Common to shine a light on this problem during the second annual Camp for a Common Cause. This is a collaborative fundraiser to benefit the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and Morningside Shelter. Even though the situation will be nowhere near as dire as the one I laid out for you, it will pull some of you out of your comfort zone and give you a brief look into what it might feel like. If you’re a camper, then it’ll just be normal operating procedure, but you can raise some money that will allow you to help others possibly avoid this plight.
Want to get involved? It’s pretty simple: Go to morningsideshelter.org and get registered. All you have to do is raise $100 for an individual or $250 per team and if you do, we’ll feed you and entertain you. We’ll have prizes for the top fundraisers, but most of all we’ll be drawing attention to a problem that sort of lurks in the background.
It’s events like these that help to fund programs at Morningside and the Drop In Center. These crucial programs help people get out of tight spots, get them a warm bed for a night, food for their bellies and back on the road to living an independent life. Because, let’s face it, some people only know how to work and pay bills, while others have more resources at their disposal. But if you find yourself in the first category I want you to really stop and think ... "What would happen if I lost my job and couldn’t find another one?" or "What would happen in three months, six months and a year from now?" That’s real world stuff and that should be the driving force for you to register and come camp with us at the Common on May 9 before you find yourself saying "What the Hell is Up with that?"