I was taken aback to realize on Thanksgiving Day, that the Corvallis Daytime Drop-In Center, newly ensconced at its Fourth Street location, was the only place a homeless person could get indoors and be with other people, between leaving the overnight shelter(s) at 9 a.m. and attending the Thanksgiving meal at St. Mary's Church at 5:30 p.m., and that there was no way back to overnight shelters except on foot.
I witnessed many damp people come in from the very rainy, cold, 48 degree winter weather hoping to get dry, but the Drop-In Center does not offer hot food and it closes at 2 p.m.
With no buses operating, anyone who wanted to eat at St. Mary's before the shelters opened at night would have had to walk 1.6 miles in the chilly downpour, eat their meal, and then walk back, in the same horrible weather but now in the dark as well.
Despite the fact that there are many dedicated volunteers who see and help with their plight, the community as a whole has clearly failed to get this situation addressed. With all the highly intelligent, highly educated people in this town who could serve as problem solvers and innovators, and with many prosperous people, how in the world have we failed so badly?
Perhaps the fact that we can be warm and dry and stuff ourselves on Turkey Day has blinded us to the suffering of others, and perhaps poverty does not matter if we can distance ourselves sufficiently.
Please, Corvallisites, do not distance yourselves! Perhaps you have never had a family member with mental illness, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, or addiction — but I doubt it!
Corvallis (Nov. 23)