Hot summers, cool needs!

By Diane Holloway
Communications/Volunteer Coordinator

School is an institution and a season — which is strange, when you think about it. Whether we’re in school, have kids in school or have nothing whatsoever to do with school, life seems to slow down at the end of May. It’s not like we’ve all gone on vacation, but enough people flee the city when school is out that the pace and traffic ease up a bit.

Compared with busy holidays in fall and winter and spring madness that explodes like wildflowers, summer is relatively subdued.

But for many people, especially those experiencing homelessness and poverty, the scorching hot summer months aren’t as idyllic as all those pool-splashing commercials would have us believe. Finding some shade and a cold drink can be a challenge, and with the spring and fall festivals gone, a lot of the temporary downtown jobs associated with those events are gone, too. As one of our more philosophical, work-seeking homeless neighbors once told me, “Vacations are overrated.”

Trinity Center does not slow down in the summer. In fact, we often have more neighbors to love and serve than any other time of the year. During the winter holidays, people bring food, clothing and other wonderful donations. It doesn’t happen that much in the summer.

So for those who may be inclined to step into this hot-weather slow-down, here are some suggestions — for individuals or groups.

Clothing — We have a weekly “shopping” program for women every Monday. Everything is free and dependent on donations. If you lived in a shelter, in a camp or on the street, think about what you would need in 100-degree weather: cotton pants, jeans, shorts, skirts, cotton dresses or skirts, walking shoes, sturdy sandals, socks, hats, sunglasses and bandanas. Light colors!

Summer toiletries — If you live out of a backpack or a rolling suitcase, you don’t want jumbo-sized items. Travel sizes work better. Summer items that are rarely donated but always needed include sunscreen, talcum powder, chap stick and insect repellent. And small packages of band-aids are always welcome.

Food — Usually we don’t accept food donations, because we can only serve commercially prepared food. But a few summers ago, a youth group from a nearby church brought us 100 popsicles! Another group brought gallons and gallons of ice cream and served sundaes with all the fixings. Interested? We are open 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. weekday mornings and usually have 60 to 70 people taking advantage of our peaceful, air-conditioned Center. If your family or a small group of folks want to serve, this is a wonderful way.

Questions? Feel free to contact me: diane@trinitycenteraustin.org or 512-610-3572.