Residents Deliver Water to Homeless Camps in Manassas

| July 24, 2017 | 0 Comments | Community

Dana Jordan of Giving on Another Level places water bottles into ice water for people living in Manassas.

After a call on social media, Wednesday, local residents met to provide water and ice to homeless people in Prince William Manassas who were trying to beat the heat on a 95-degree day.

A thread that began as a complaint against panhandling, turned into a call to action on a local social media site, when a friend of Dana Jordan’s said they would be visiting local homeless camps, and asked residents to help by donating packs water bottles and bags of ice.

“We were going to come out here with five cases of water today, instead we had 20,” Jordan said.

Jordan and friends have been volunteering at local homeless camps for months, helping those they describe as good people who happen to be living through a rough patch.

“We’ve become close neighbors and friends [with those living in the camps],” said Jordan. “About half are employed.” Others actively look for permeant, temporary or daily labor work.

Jordan founded the charitable organization Giving on Another Level or “GOAL” in 2016.

GOAL bring food directly to the camps twice a month. Other charitable organizations donate every other Sunday as well. “We come to them. It’s food that we would want to eat.”

While delivering meals, Jordan got to know the local homeless population, finding the people to be friendly, ambitious, hardworking and engaged in helping others.

“They help me unload the car. They are not bad people,” Jordan said. “Our purpose is to empower people with the tools necessary to become self-sufficient.”

Residents of homeless camps care for one another and assist volunteers transporting water bottles.

Jordan elicits help from the camp community as well. Alana, a transgender woman, living in the camp, acts as her liaison, communicating to the people in various camps when meals and water will be delivered.

“There’s a total of four camp sites between here to 66. I end up trying to help to go from one place to another,” Alana said.

Not too long ago, Alana was living with a friend. Now, living in a parking lot behind a shopping center, she remains optimistic about her future and that of her campmates.

“We’re still able to do things. We’re just down on our luck,” she said. “Hopefully, one day we can help the community like some people are helping us.”

She wants people to know that homelessness is a temporary situation, not who a person is. “Some people look at us like it’s a disease.”

For those who struggle there are various success stories.

One camp resident arrived with a bag full of food from a local restaurant where he recently found work. He explained that he typically works two jobs: day labor in the morning and restaurant work in the evening. He hopes to soon have enough money to have his own place.

But affordable housing is difficult to come by in Prince William County, said Jordan, and a significant obstacle for those attempting to overcoming homelessness.

She has concerns that if the trailer park on Route 28 closes, many of its residents could end up homeless as well.

Mainly, she also worries about her friends in the camp on extremely hot days, which is why she showed up with water and ice. She believes the county needs additional services especially on the western end.

Local people bring water and ice water to those in need on hot days.

Though there are some temporary shelters, people lack the transportation to take them there. On hot days, they could experience heat stroke by walking long distances.

She hopes people see homelessness a complex problem and show some compassion to the homeless. Jordan says she often hears politicians saying that people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, “but what if you don’t have boots?” she asked.

Jordan invites others to contact GOAL and see how they can volunteer their time or donate to the cause.

Beyond helping the homeless, they provide birthday backpacks to children in transitional housing, so they can celebrate with a cake, decorations and a modest gift.

She firmly believes that all lives are worthwhile and hopes to make a difference.

“Life should not just be lived. It should be celebrated,” she said.

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

banner ad