Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving in the tunnels follow-up

Things went well in the tunnels on Thanksgiving. I went down late morning with Josh Ellis (minus the kukri knife), his wife Rosalie, Becky Bosshart and her friend Mary Catharine, bearing hot plates and trash bags full of goods (knit caps, disposable razors, batteries, bar soap, books, etc.). Our first stop was a tunnel near the south Strip, where we encountered four or five camps, which, to our relief, were much warmer than outside. (It was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in Las Vegas that day.) The inhabitants were just stirring and getting ready for another day: panhandling, dumpster diving, credit hustling. There are no holidays in the underground flood channels of Vegas.

Our second stop was a drain just west of the Strip, which housed two camps. We left plates and trash bags for “Stretch” and Vicki, who were hustling aboveground, and chatted with my friend Rick (of “The Buried Life” fame) near the inlet. Despite a broken index finger, he was planning to wash car windows at a gas station that day.

Finally, we parked at a Siegel Suites adjacent to a three-barrel drain north of UNLV. (Is it just me or is this town becoming one big Siegel Suites?) A handful of homeless people sat on the embankment, basking in the early afternoon sun. As rumors of free food and goods spread, more people emerged from the shadows of the tunnels. They appeared tired, cold and hungry—resigned. We gave out our remaining supplies, including blankets and sweatshirts, and the people seemed appreciative. Some of them said they hope to get into HELP of Southern Nevada’s program, but are currently on the waiting list.

Special thanks to Casey, Sam, Tia T.’s mom Cyndi, Enrique and Nic, who donated goods. Also, to Becky for donating and cooking the food and to Josh, Rosalie and Mary Catharine for helping deliver it. The venture was funded, in part, by Alison from Missouri. (Thanks for the check!)

Also, Josh wrote a long and poignant blog about the day. Check it out at http://zenarchery.com.

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