This morning’s sunrise was especially beautiful! The morning changed from dark, to a light orange and pink sky which shone brighter as the day awoke. The buzz and roar of life began and another day started for the Fallen 5 Drive.
I was quite sore by this time since I was not prepared to run and sleep in hard places. Doing a new physical fitness program combined with sleeping on the ground and vehicles was a new level of soreness for me. Despite the soreness, stretching and a little ibuprofen went a long way.
After a few days of being in the streets, we realized there were more needs beyond food and water. We began planning a list of hygiene items we could purchase and put together and pass out for people. In addition to giving food we wanted to provide a level of care in which people could feel more comfortable.
For food we planned on cooking eggs scrambled with cheese and wrapping into a burrito. We got 60 eggs, 40 tortillas, and a couple pounds of cheese. We picked up another 4 cases of water to pass out as it was going to be hot for the next few days. It was quite a bit of work as we cooked, wrapped, and packaged the food. As we drove around passing out water and food, we asked what more needs were and so we planned to make a trip to the store for toothpaste, toothbrushes, wipes, band aides, alcohol pads, and other items.
By now I began to recognize certain people and they knew us as well. Often as I drove around town, my new friends would wave or say hi! It felt good to be doing good for others. The opportunity to do good for others is possible if we simply choose to do something. This simple mission has created so much joy and value. It was a great day to honor the Fallen 5!
Day 3 began with a beautiful sunrise in the morning overlooking the City of Chattanooga. It was peaceful and calm. With the sunrise we could hear the traffic and energy of the city come to life. Each day on this mission I awoke wondering how much good I could do for others in need. My mental balance was between serving those who were living, those who sacrificed their lives for others, and serving my own needs.
The major plans for the day including cooking hot dogs and passing them out with water. This means we would set up the grille and cook and package them up in zip lock bags. Each morning I made French pressed coffee, as I do every morning, and began planning the day. Each day at this point was going to be planned as the day went. I was learning a lot about what the real needs on the streets were.
Food is a big part of what we were doing. Additionally, seeking resources such as blankets, hygiene items, and coats was an important next step. I learned new information from those we served and we asked what their needs were. Some spoke of anticipating housing soon while others wanted simple items such as hand sanitizer.
My personal goal is to raise awareness for the status of homelessness in Chattanooga and care for these people on a personal level. Being a small team of dedicated people and dogs, we were able to impact people on an individual basis which was a special experience. Part of driving around was finding new places that were overlooked by others. Generally, there were people close to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen which is open daily for food and other resources.
To spread the word on our mission we headed to the Sunday Market at the First Tennessee Pavilion which was also a car show. We walked around with the dogs for a bit and shortly after left to help more people in needs. Later that night we visited Craven’s House again overlooking the city.