For the past week, our Mobile Express has been out of commission. A generator malfunction was putting our equipment at risk, so we needed to get some maintenance done. The work on the generator wasn't invasive, it just took some time. Erin and I needed to find other ways to keep ourselves busy.
Our office really stepped up with ways to fill the time.
Emily Forsee, an Americorps member, organized a huge outreach event at our Direct Service Office in downtown Columbus. Last Wednesday, the DSO hosted a huge chili giveaway. Emily worked to get ingredients and bread donated to our office. She got all the important permits. She made the coffee and printed out the advertisements which were put up around the city. People came from all over the city to get some free chili (which was delicious).
The free food attracted a lot of people having trouble making ends meet. Many of these people were homeless. Unfortunately, the homeless have trouble getting food stamps since Job and Family Services requires a mailing address to send the Food Assistance Benefit Transfer Card as well as other correspondence.
Well, for the first time in our office's history, clients without mailing addresses will be able to use our office as their primary address. This will allow food stamps to go to those who had previously been unable to obtain them.
These efforts led to 58 new applications for Food Assistance and other programs. Fifty-eight! I was honored to be a part of those 58 applications. I hate to speak for Erin, but I'm going to assume that she's proud too.*
What a great event. Here's hoping that we have another day like this in the near future.
*Pride has since been confirmed