Homeless and working poor need help

imacafoodbank.jpgAs the weather turns frigid, the homeless of the Eastern Sierra grow more visible. Many of them have approached local agencies for help. The holiday season also shines a light on needs for those without homes and those who are working but can’t make ends meet.

Salvation Army Lieutenant Cathie McCulley has her hands full with Christmas food baskets and daily needs of the hungry and the homeless. She said that “a lot more families and homeless come in for help. The cold is a problem.” The Salvation Army has limited funds for motel rooms. Local donations for that are welcome.

McCulley also urges anyone who wants a holiday food basket, toys and coats for kids should go to the Salvation Army office at 621 W. Line St. to sign up. Bring ID for all family members and proof of an address. The deadline is December 15th. McCulley said they also need food donations – canned vegetables, soups, peanut butter and jelly. She has ordered already cooked meals that can be re-heated for those who stop in for help. The homeless know to go to Salvation Army.

The food pantry is open at the West Line St. facility in Bishop and one is open in Mammoth Lakes at 220 Sierra Manor Rd. next to Higerd Plumbing.  The Mammoth Salvation Army needs volunteers for the donation kettle at Vons.

Homeless and hungry also know they can go to the United Methodist Church of Bishop on Fowler St. The Soup Kitchen there serves between 80 and 100 people Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at noon. Pastor Kathleen Puntar says there is a greater need this year. She said more than a dozen high school students now come for lunch. Said the Pastor, “The need is up, our numbers are up and our costs are also up.” The Church holds a shower ministry from 9:30am to 11:30am on Soup Kitchen days. More are coming for that, which means more people without homes.

Pastor Puntar said the homeless around Bishop are camping out in the cold. She said the Church can provide motel rooms on an emergency basis but don’t have the funds to fill all requests. She said they mostly reserve the housing option for families with children. And, yes, there are entire families without homes.

Donations for the Soup Kitchen and motel rooms for homeless can be sent to the United Methodist Social Services at 205 N. Fowler St. in Bishop.

At Inyo-Mono Advocates for Community Action, Ophelia Martinez heads up an energy assistance program. She said a lot of people need help paying their heating bills this time of year. IMACA still has funding. Call them for an appointment at 873-8557. IMACA receives $300,000 in annual funding and helps between 600 and 800 people with energy bills every year.

Executive Director of IMACA, Jill Paydon said IMACA does have some funding for emergency housing at motels. There is also funding for those who are in danger of eviction or who have found a place to live and need help. Paydon said the extreme cold has created need. She said IMACA also has some tents and outdoor supplies.

Director Paydon said that the IMACA Food Pantry now sees more people than in the past. She said it is mostly the working poor with families and low income senior citizens. Paydon said food donations are always welcome at the Bishop office on Main St and the Mammoth IMACA office at 625 Old Mammoth Rd. Plus, the food pantry is open Wednesdays in Lone Pine in the Chamber of Commerce courtyard.



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11 Responses to Homeless and working poor need help

  1. Bob December 5, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    ECONOMIC COLLAPSE Is Imminent, “Bit-Coin” is Killing the dollar, CALPERS Pension Fund Will Collapse in 2014, San Bernerdino, San Jose, Stockton, Detroit Are just tha tip of tha Ice Burg in soon to bee Pension COLLAPSES
    This will start tha Dominoes Falling, Stock Market, Treasuries, 401k’s will all Fall, Not good 🙂

    • Benett Kessler December 5, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      Grateful you are not a real soothsayer. While life on earth remains risky, individuals can look for the positive path in the brambles and forge ahead. Your comments are not news flashes but more of the paranoid negativity that only adds to problems. Benett Kessler

  2. Bob December 5, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    People dont’t have anything to give, any disposable cash must got o Pay “Obama Care” Premiums, Taxes, Fines, Fees, Late-Fees, Insurance, ect. ect.

    Every other City, State, and this Entire Country will follow suit. Pensions, Social Security, Entitlement System, Police, Fire, EMS, Government is all finished. America is finished…Watch and See. 🙂

    • Wayne Deja December 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Bob….Better start watching those “doomsday” shows on T.V…..and FOX NEWS…. and start digging that deep bunker and hunker in it !!!

  3. BobK December 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    THE SKY IS FALLING…THE SKY IS FALLING…(screamed while running in circles with hands flailing over ones head)

  4. ferdinand lopez December 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    bad choice of location to be homeless,go to so.cal where its nice and warm with lots of large shrubs to live in

    • Wayne Deja December 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      ….Not so bad…..if your willing to work……When I got to the Owens Valley in February 2000 I was “homeless” with little more than the cloths on my back..no money…didn’t know anyone in town…lived at a spot by the local creek in a tent for almost 5 months…with the help of the Mt.Whitney Baptist Church found myself some odd jobs untill I got a maintenance job at a local mobile home park….and then another part time job in town….stayed away from the “bad things”,and now living in a nice little house,own a nice truck, have some money in the bank,good friends and co-workers..good bosses…although I’m not living high off the hog,able to survive and make a decent living.Whoever wants to re-locate…..no matter where it is you want to live,it can be done….two keys to doing it….be willing to work,no matter what the work might be….and don’t surround yourself with bad people,and it’s not that hard to do.

      • Russ Monroe December 7, 2013 at 9:52 am #

        As positive as your story is Wayne, and I am happy for you, the unfortunate reality is; many homeless are not in the position that you were in. Many are not able to work, many are children too young to be allowed to work legally and far too many are in need of assistance far beyond a shower and shelter. Since the day the Governor of this state destroyed our mental health system under the guise of budget cutting, there are many people roaming the streets who are not in a position to fend for themselves at all. For these folks, law enforcement is not the answer, a job is not the answer, in fact there is no one answer, but the government ignoring the problem and dumping the responsibility for attending to the situation on already over burdened law enforcement, is making it much worse. Inyo county sees only a tiny percentage of the problem precisely because homelessness is an extremely difficult situation to survive here.

  5. Trouble December 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Wayne, I got more respect for you sharing that story. I’m not young enough to go that route anymore, but I totally agree with you about being willing to work hard and staying away from the bad crowd. Hope your story helps encourage someone struggling out there.

    • Wayne Deja December 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

      Trouble…..When I did all that relocating stuff I was 46 years old,and if I were to ever get in that situation again,I,too,might be too old to pull it off now….nothing easy about it,especially the two weeks I was stuck in a campground 6 miles north of Bridgeport just about out of everything….in February…I get cold just thinking about it now..and,on top of that,a mountain lion that was coming around late night,probably wanting my Cocker Spaniol for a snack..But once you get to where you want to be….and not be afraid or too proud to ask for help,it gets easier…IF your willing to work,and not just expecting a hand-out.Some people tell me not to tell people,especially strangers,about what I had to get through after numerous screw-ups on my part….but,like you say,if it can maybe help someone,or encourage anyone to try to do the same, and not see their situation as hopeless,maybe it’s a good thing to let them know things can get fixed in their lives with some effort…THANKS for what you had to say…..

      • Pedro December 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

        Tell the truth, shame the devil.


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