A woman parks by our garden and gets out of her car with her cell phone glued to her ear. She walks in Patchwork’s alley door and proceeds, on a mission, through the building to the front door. She never pauses her phone conversation.
“What? Where are you? By the front door? No. I’m at the front door. Well, I don’t know where I am, but it looks like a fun place,” she says into her phone.
I manage to flag her down and we establish that she is, in fact, in the wrong building. Hers is a great compliment of Patchwork, though. We work to make this a welcoming place for anyone who enters.
On Monday, a woman comes in to find out if just maybe we have some bags of school supplies left after Saturday’s Back to School Sale. We’d sold 181 bags on Saturday, but we have 3 bags left and she gratefully purchases two for her children. Another woman sees the last bag and is ready to take it but finds out that it costs $8 and she can’t pay. A man waiting with the first woman overhears and quickly pays for the second woman’s school supplies without her noticing. We tell her that the bag is hers to take and she is surprised and thankful.
Someone stops by to pick up some dog food for her pet. We’re one of the few places where you can find it for free thanks to the Tuly Fund which was established by the Blackford’s Grove Neighborhood Association in memory of Tom Loesch and Billy Hedel’s dog Tuly. Recently, we’ve gotten a donation to buy more dog and cat food in memory of Rocky, Sophie, and Spank. You can donate, too.
Later in the morning, Dee greets a group of men by name as they sign in for showers. Some days we have 10 showers and some days we have 0. This is a day with 10.
“Are those your fightin’ pants?” she asks one man wearing military camo shorts.
“No, this is my concrete jungle outfit,” he replies.
“What kind of toiletries would you like?” she asks another man.
“Razor?” she asks (we don’t always have them in stock).
“Here’s some gourmet soap,” she says as she hands over a thin, pink round.
“It smells nice. Is this one that they made next door?”
“Yes,” she tells him. Our guests have been happy to receive handmade soap: seconds and trial formulas from our neighbors at Soap Solutions. They have noticed that the Soap Solutions house smells like essential oil even from the sidewalk and are interested to get to try the products.
A man comes in to get food from our food pantry but is not eligible because it has been less than 30 days since his last food order. Dee starts looking through a list of independent pantries for one that wouldn’t require a referral but would be close enough for the man to reach on foot.
He sits by her desk and chats while she calls around until she finds one that will work. He gets up to leave and announces with satisfaction, “It was a battle, but we won.”