Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in the tunnels: Part III

The gift-giving in the tunnels went well. On Christmas Eve day, Rich from HELP of Southern Nevada and I went into three drains and ran into about 15 people. They seemed in good spirits and appreciative of the bags we handed out, which contained blankets, jackets, sweaters, knit caps, bottled water, disposable razors and other items. Later that day, Rick, who lives in a tunnel in south central Vegas, was wearing one of the sweaters, so I know some of the stuff was put to use.

Thanks to everyone who contributed: Andy, Kristyne, Sam, Mark and Tia. Special thanks to Tia’s mom Cyndi, aunt Penny and cousin Alex, who supplied the bags and many of the goods – some of them handmade.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

L.A. Times’ take on the tunnels

This poetic and inspirational story about escaping the tunnels ran on the front page of the L.A. Times a few days ago. It’s accompanied by an audio slide show, in which I make an un-introduced appearance:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-tunnel22-2009dec22,0,204722.story

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas in the tunnels follow-up

Still could use more bottled water, canned goods, disposable razors, knit caps, winter coats, flashlights and batteries to take into the tunnels. If you live in Las Vegas and can spare any of these things, please let me know. I plan to go into the tunnels later this week.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in the tunnels

Looks like I’m going to be in Las Vegas for Christmas, so I’m planning to play Santa Claus in the underground flood channels. I’d like to go down there with an assortment of “gifts” – new or used: winter clothes, socks, shoes, canned goods, bottled water, books, flashlights, batteries, etc. I need mostly clothing for men, but also some women’s clothing.

If you have anything you’d like to donate to the cause, please let me know in the next week and a half.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Out of the dark

Steve and Kathryn, the couple featured in some of the media coverage of the tunnels, have been housed. Two weeks ago, I helped them move some of their stuff from the side tunnel they lived in for a few years to a group home in central Vegas. Just talked to them yesterday and they seem to be doing well.

They’re in the capable hands of Louis Lacey, one of HELP of Southern Nevada’s most respected case managers. Lacey, Rich Penksa and many other HELP staffers have visited the side tunnel – located about a half-mile into a storm drain – regularly over the past seven or eight months. Their determination and bravery have resulted in several people leaving that tunnel and being housed. They’re changing lives – and it’s incredible to see.

I’ll try to keep you all updated on Steve and Kathryn and the 15 or so other people the Shine a Light crew has helped lead from the darkness.