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The First Cold Snap Never Gets Easier

It doesn’t get easier.

No matter how many years I’ve been serving people experiencing homelessness, the cold snaps, especially the first of the season, never get easier. We knew the forecast, we worked ahead to keep supplies on hand to help those living outside. We talked to guests to help them problem-solve where they could stay to get out of the elements. And still at 6:30 AM I had a call from a coworker about a middle-aged woman sleeping outside our front door in a heap of blankets.

It was 16 degrees.

We determined we would open early to get her to safety. This woman wasn’t new to us. We’d been seeing her around. She'd been coming for meals and shower & laundry services. We learned that she needed a housing assessment and she was provided one and put on a list for housing. She just wasn’t at the top of the list yet. She had language barriers and it was often difficult to communicate with her. But she felt safe here, even at night. With the forecast so severe we called Lincoln's only emergency shelter for adults and were told they did not have a spot for her.

Thankfully she survived the cold snap and thankfully a shelter in Fremont said they would take her in. And thankfully another coworker would drive her there.

It doesn’t get easier. It is hard to not have a solution or resource for people during these challenging times. It is hard to say we cannot serve someone who is so desperately in need. But tonight I might sleep a little better with renewed faith and pride in a team that kept creatively solving problems and wouldn’t take no for an answer!

I'd like to invite you to join us in our work to defeat hunger and homelessness and restore hope! National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week (11/12-11/20) is an annual opportunity to shine a spotlight on the problems of hunger and homelessness and organize the community to take action. You can participate by volunteering, donating, or collecting food items for Matt Talbot. Our kitchen especially needs:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Produce
  • Meat

Items can be dropped off at Matt Talbot Monday-Friday 8:30 am-6:30 pm. You can also save yourself a trip and donate items from our Amazon Wish List!

Thanks for your support,

Susanne Blue, Executive Director


A version of this blog was published as a Local View in the Lincoln Journal Star on 11-23-22.