To my fellow parishioners,
We need your help cleaning up the park on Saturdays and Sundays, and we need help to identify and organize donors: people and organizations that come to the park to distribute food or clothing.
The Downtown Partnership covers waking and cleaning up Monday through Friday mornings; the parish is responsible for Saturday and Sunday mornings.
You might think: why would anyone in their right mind want to spend time cleaning up after homeless (or near homeless) people in our park?
There are challenges, to be sure:
- The hours are bad: 7 to 9 AM each weekend morning when we close the park to clean it. We have a few hearty nuts that keep those hours, but would appreciate the help of anyone who will join us, especially now that the weather attracts more people to the park on weekends.
- It’s trash. It’s not pretty stuff. The object is to get it into the garbage cans and big plastic bags on the Front St. curb for city trucks that come by just after 9 AM.
There are also consolations:
- You are helping maintain a space of quiet, rest and conversation adjacent to the church. You are contributing to the park being inviting and welcoming to the many people that use it, both overnight and during the daytime.
- If you come at 7AM, you learn how to wake up people with gentleness, firmness and dignity by asking them to leave the park with their belongings—one of the few times during their day when they hear bad news delivered with respect, and get a thank you for their cooperation.
- You meet and talk—albeit briefly–with people who respect the work you are doing for them.
- For an old duffer like me, you get a strenuous physical workout for a couple of hours, largely involving performing many many deep knee bends picking stuff up.
- You get a lesson in compassion. Doing thankless menial work on behalf of people who often lean thankless menial lives – it’s a humbling experience.
All we ask is that you set aside once a month or every six weeks to pitch in and help.
Let us know your availability. Buttonhole me, or Peter Asquino, or Joe Yingling; drop us a line at email@example.com; and listen for announcements about the next meeting of the Friends of St. Vincent Park.
Michael Kelly, Chair of the Friends of St Vincent’s Park.