By Kim Supermutt Goodman
The Homeless Stand Down was held Saturday January 26th, 2013 at the Public Auditorium on East 6th and Lakeside. For those who don’t know the Homeless Stand Down is an annual event that connects members of the homeless community with services and things that they need. Even though the event didn’t start until 9:00 am people were in line early hoping to get something good and volunteers got there early to set up. There was a long line, but everyone who was standing in line made it inside by 10:00 am. Breakfast was served from 9:00am until about 10:30 and consisted of cereal, milk, peaches, donuts, coffee and plenty of pastries. There was even a meal for diabetics. Lunch as served at 11:30 am and consisted of Salisbury steak with gravy, potatoes, bread, a salad, pastries and an apple. Everyone was hanging out waiting until their number was called so they could go through the clothing lines where they could choose a coat or a pair of boots, get a sweater or sweat shirt, a pair of socks, underwear, a hat and scarf and a hygiene kit.
Between breakfast and lunch there were plenty of activities. There were several rows of service providers passing out information about the services that they provided. There was entertainment on the stage, a professional photographer taking portraits, hair stylists providing haircuts, a foot doctor and health screening by staff members who really did a great job. It was really great to see that foot washing was offered this year. Even though foot washing may sound simple it is actually important. The feet are a part of the body that holds a person up and helps them walk but is also a part of the body that most people neglect. People who have large stomachs often rush though foot care because bending over to deal with their feet can be uncomfortable. People who have back or joint problems may neglect foot care because bending over may hurt them. Many homeless people who depend on showering facilities often have a limited amount of time in the shower so they focus more on other parts of their body instead of their feet.
The 2013 Homeless Stand Down had the best medical staff and a great podiatrist team. There were also many good service providers and the barbers and photographer were great. The only problem I ran into was that there weren’t too many clothing items for large people or for people with large feet. The women’s boots only went up to size 8 and the women were not allowed to get the men’s boots even if they had large or wide feet. At the end of the event everyone was given a bagged lunch and an all day bus pass.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle Cleveland, Ohio January 2013