3W Recap: Hope Fest, UUMC, Micah 6 Volunteering

(Oof. A general warning to procrastinators:  it’s a slippery slope.)

Greetings, readers! The following is a long post filled with a plethora of photos from the past few weeks. Specifically, we’ll be talking about HopeFest (10/26), UUMC (11/02), and Micah 6 (11/09). The details may not be all there, but hopefully a picture really is worth a thousand words. Thanks to all of those who contributed to this post and helped make this happen. And thanks to all the volunteers who have been to these events and the past two General Meetings (which will not be recapped).

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First off, HopeFest. H2O volunteered at HopeFest’s Day of Celebration, hosted locally by Reagan High School. This day of celebration comes during their

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Affordable Housing Bonds Vote Passed

During our third and fourth General Meetings, one of the topics we discussed was the November 2013 elections and the Keep Austin Affordable campaign we mentioned at the beginning of the semester. Since these meetings fell right before and after the elections, we pushed this topic again, and now that the results are in, we’d like to share them with you.

With a vote of about 61% to 39%, about 14,000 marginal difference, the $65 million affordable housing bond measure was passed by voters. This measure will help build, renovate, and repair housing in the Austin area for renting or sale at lower rates to accommodate Austin’s large low-income population.

This comes a year after a similar measure was rejected by the Austin population, which many sources attribute to a lack of a serious campaign. Well, this year proved otherwise.

To read more about this issue, visit these links:

There’s still a little bit more left to do, but we’ll keep you posted. The city will ratify the results on Nov. 18.

Volunteering at Casa Marianella

Last Saturday (10/19), H2O had the chance to volunteer at Casa Marianella, an emergency homeless shelter that provides housing and support for immigrants, asylum seekers, and asylees.

To find out more about Casa, please visit:  http://www.casamarianella.org/

After H2O was shown around the shelter and briefed about its history and mission, the staff at Casa asked us to help them repaint parts of their main house that either hadn’t been painted in awhile or had been in a position of frequent wear or damage. The choices of paint were interesting to say the least, but definitely gave the emergency shelter an interestingly bold and bright accent.

Happy to get out of the cold, we went inside to prepare the kitchen for new paint. With a warm, wet cloth, we wiped down surfaces including steps, banisters and doors. A few of our volunteers then scraped off thin layers of paint and wood for a smoother surfaces to paint on.

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Julia and Tima working hard to scrape off old paint

While some volunteers got to stay in the shelter of the warm house, others of us Continue reading

Micah 6 Volunteering

This past Saturday (10/12), H2O volunteered at Micah 6. We introduced several new volunteers to the local food pantry right off of Guadalupe.

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New volunteers filling out their first-time forms

As soon as we signed-in, we went straight to work, setting up the bagging stations and shelving all sorts of goods from cans to meats to grains to fruits and vegetables. By the time we were done, nearly barren shelves were practically bursting with items!

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Krysinda waits in front of the juice and cereal shelves, which she stacked full!

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Second General Meeting — Street Treats at ACL: A Micro-Enterprising Opportunity for the Homeless

At this week’s general meeting (10/14), Service Coordinator Katie brought up a topic that was on our minds the past two weekends — ACL. If you went to either weekend, did you notice the silver Street Treats carts selling Blue Bell ice cream? Perhaps you noticed the familiar Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) logo we saw when we went to Genesis Gardens earlier this semester? Well, this non-profit was partnering with C3 and ACL organizers to provide a micro-enterprising opportunity to the homeless. That’s right, those were homeless vendors earning their own money in a dignified manner as part of MLF’s micro-opportunity business program.

To find out more, click on these links:

As a reminder, our meetings are every other week on Monday at 6:00 PM in BUR 130. Don’t be scared to come out and listen/participate in our discussion. We also provide snacks (this time, we had delicious, organic grapes)!

2W Recap (Social, General Meeting, & Double E)

These past two weeks have been new and exciting for H2O (so this is a long post). We had our first social in a very long time, held our first general meeting, and featured a double-event Saturday. Phew!

Last Saturday, several of our members came down to the Union Underground to socialize and play billiards (but mostly to socialize). We arrived unsure of our abilities, but once Jason and Rosary paired up together, they dominated. We met a new face and had a lot of fun enjoying each other’s company so much that we continued the conversation down to the Indian place on the Drag.

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Jamie, Lauren, Elizabeth, and Jason playing billiards

On Monday, service coordinator Katie Ray led the semester’s first general meeting in room BUR 130. The current local issue featured during the meeting was the Keep Austin Affordable campaign, which focuses on increasing awareness and garnering support for an affordable housing bond package on the November 2013 ballot. In particular, our meeting focused on Scott Clapper’s story in their video as a reminder of the diversity of circumstances that lead to people becoming homeless. Katie raised some interesting discussion questions, and we were glad to see many new and returning faces join in on the conversation.

Interested in learning more about our organization or other issues in the area? Join us for our next meeting on October 14 at 6:00 PM, same place!

This past Saturday, we had our double-event extravaganza! Our Google survey for the first time asked our volunteers to choose between two locations, Capital Area Food Bank and UUMC, and we had a terrific turn-out.

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Traditional group photo in front of UUMC — what a turn-out!

The group above is only part of our volunteers who came out Saturday morning, since a few who went to Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) are not pictured. This was H2O’s first time being a part of UUMC’s Brown Lunch program (they’ve been doing it for four Saturdays already!), but everyone agreed that it was a great experience. We manned the coffee station, passed out lunches, sorted trash, and were hospitality staff. Although the tasks weren’t exhausting, the people who grabbed lunch were all very appreciative our presence and efforts.

After we helped UUMC clean up and collect inventory, the group decided to try some Mediterranean food on 24th.

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H2O gathers around a circle at a café after volunteering

Unfortunately, no documentation was had of the group who went to CAFB. Nonetheless, the volunteers were with co-chair Jason and no doubt had a great time and were very pleased with their output at the end of the morning.

To volunteer with us, join our mailing list or join our facebook group (see “Contact Us!”)

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Volunteering at Genesis Gardens

Last Saturday, H2O had the opportunity to volunteer at Genesis Gardens, a subset of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a non-profit organization that provides home grown food to the homeless community of Austin. The  organization has a great vision to cultivate an empowered community of the neighborly and the homeless, and we were able to help.

A short drive away from the mini-farm that modeled the organization’s vision, our volunteers were able to take in the sight of a working development. We divided up into small teams to help with various tasks, including laying down hay, feeding chickens, digging rows, and building. One of our volunteers even had the opportunity to harvest some of the food grown at the mini-farm.

Different from our usual experiences in pantries or shelters, the work was not easy, but it helped us see how it works at the source of what we normally do.

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Guillermo, Katie, and Andrea helping to lay the muddy paths with hay

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