A Testimonial by Gus Goodwin, A St. Luke’s Parishioner and St. Elizabeth’s Volunteer
Carmen, Christine, Sunday, Sarah, Christo, Lionel and Anthony are some of the names that I know. There are many more who I don’t know by name, but do know their faces. Week after week they come to St E’s in their colorful African skirts, dresses and scarves, the infants snuggled in their Mother’s arms, the young and old picking out books from the book table.
Some are refugees from other parts of the world and some have lived the streets of Portland their whole lives, all arriving at this moment in time and waiting in line together for the essentials St E’s has to offer – bars of soap, toilet paper, feminine products, diapers, laundry soap, warm coats and boots, toothpaste, kitchen supplies, blankets and sheets, and books to read. Some have seven children waiting at home, some have an elderly parent in the car, some are waiting for their children to join them from another country. For some, home is a motel room for others the van, and some have no home at all. Handing out the essentials on Tuesday mornings is a simple act that provides a bar of soap, a roll of toilet paper and a little bit of hope among smiles, and gratitude, sometimes handshakes, and the chatter of conversations in other languages, and laughter.