Friday, November 24, 2006

Helping Out

I had a pretty quiet Thanksgiving, no guests or anything, but I did go out earlier to help the NO/AIDS Task Force with its deliveries. They have a program, Food for Friends, for delivering food to HIV+ people in the New Orleans area who have trouble getting out and shopping for themselves. They needed a few extra drivers for an extra push getting some hot food to clients on Thanksgiving.

So I showed up at 11 AM at Covenant House on North Rampart St., at the edge of the Quarter. It's a shelter for homeless teenagers and young adults, and they were letting us use their kitchen facilities. It was an easy gig. I only had to make a few stops, dropping off some packages of stuff in plastic grocery bags.

Doreen, the Task Force volunteer director, was running the show. She was very concerned about the safety of her drivers, and there were about half a dozen of us. When I asked, she said it was not about lawlessness or violence, but just the physical hazards of this damaged city. It seems a lot of HIV clients who had nowhere else to go to have come back to places that aren't very safe. She told me of a nice old lady who is not only living in a condemned building, with a red sticker on the front, but on the top floor of a condemned building. Not the situation she wants to send a volunteer into. (FYI, with that old lady, she has her people yell up from the street that her delivery is ready, and the lady sends someone down.)

So as Doreen was marshalling her forces today, she said quite firmly, "At the top of your route sheet is my cell phone number. When you complete your route, you WILL call me. If you do not do so, if you do not check in, I will go one block down the street to the First Precinct office and report you as missing, and you WILL be on the Six O'clock News."

She got 100% compliance. From me, at any rate.

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