It never ceases to amaze me what people will do for others when called upon to help and today was no exception. This morning I got to meet Jim Dent, the Point Loma electrician who was compelled to help an elderly gentleman who had called him needing some electrical work done. Jim discovered that was just the tip of the iceberg… A call for help went out and the community answered. There is much more work to do and I have no doubt that call will be answered too, but I have to tell you about what happened today.
The group of people that came together this morning was as diverse as it was courageous. Jim had warned everyone in his emails and comments leading up to today’s cleanup that the conditions were bad and he was well prepared, providing everyone with respirator masks and sturdy gloves. As folks showed up he asked that everyone sign in so we could keep track of who had volunteered (we’ll do a more complete report later) and we passed out supplies. Shovels, mops, brooms, trash bags… A small roll-off dumpster was delivered, there was a trailer to cart off old appliances and electronic waste.
Prepped and armed, the small army descended on the house with a plan to remove the large appliances and get them to the recycling area before it closed and to remove the garbage, and so it began. Recently having surgery myself, I did not go into the house but did what I could to offer encouragement to the others. I saw the looks on the faces of these people as they marched in and out, dumping trash into the dumpster or just taking a breath of fresh air. I gave one young woman a cup of water and watched her do her best not to retch it up in the street. The conditions this poor man has been living in are truly unbelievable and it made me sad to think how alone he must be, but to see these ordinary folks answer the call to help, well, I still have a lump in my throat.