Call to Action: Support the Safe Camp

Please help us as we are asking the Fresno City Council and the City of Fresno to sanction our safe camp so we can provide security, to sell us surplus city land for a new safe camp in a safe location, and support the camp with the requested needs. We need people to write and call the city council members as soon as possible, show support on public comment, and attend the Fresno City Council meeting on Thursday, April 22 to speak up in support of the safe camp at the city council meeting.

Zoom link is here:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_k9v6BEVSS9iZBITNDoHIzg

Heres how you can help:

  1. Sign and share our petition here
  2. We need people to write and call the city council members as soon as possible, show support on public comment, and attend the Fresno City Council meeting on Thursday, April 22 to speak up in support of the safe camp at the city council meeting. 
  3. Share with others!

    Info on how to submit comments and key talking points below

Background

WANI met with city staff with a proposal that included security measures such as clearing the surrounding area surrounding the camp, since the homeless who reside there engage in problematic and criminal activities which affect the camp residents.. A budget was also proposed to help fund needed items (tents, mobile shower/laundry unit, stipends for volunteers/staffing, etc.) and in-kind services (e.g.PPE,  vaccination education and provision, improved cooperation with FPD).

How You Can Help

We ask that supporters of We Are Not Invisible write to the City Council sharing how you have seen or contributed to our efforts and how it has made a difference in the lives of our Camp Residents or other homeless community members. Your Specific experiences are appreciated!  If at all possible, please also attend the City Council meeting on April 22, to speak during the public comment time. (Instructions on how to submit written or oral public comments are below). 

Important Note:  We are waiting for confirmation of WANI/homeless issues to be on the agenda as originally planned. Hopefully, this will be confirmed on Monday, April 18th. In any case, your written submission of support would be appreciated. 

Key talking point suggestions:

  • Request that the City sanction the camp &/or identifies surplus City land to lease (and sanction) to WANI: for $1.00 a year, with the option of granting the land to WANI if the year project is determined to be of benefit to the City. This may seem like a big ask, but keep in mind that a similar lease is in place with the Chaffee Zoo and in our case, the cost savings to the City for services provided is estimated to be at a minimum of $500,000 per year. 
  • Given the lack of shelters to place all our homeless community members, the Safe Camp is an expedient, humane, and viable way to provide at least basic needs for many of these folks and reduces deaths, injuries, health risks, public health problems and the need for emergency services.. Estimates indicate there are over 1,000 plus people who became homeless during the pandemic and that number is expected to grow to another 1,000.
  • The Safe Camp has proven to be a safe, temporary “home” for people to decompress and stabilize from the harsh street conditions, and helps them prepare to enter into more permanent shelters/housing, and potential employment.
  • The WANI Safe Camp, volunteers and community supporters ensure basic human rights are met for the residents, which contributes to their well-being and ability to make positive self improvement. The residents themselves contribute to the overall function and benefits of the camp community. Below are a list of basic features and functions of the camp:
    • Sanitation and hygiene resources, like portable toilets, wash stations, trash cans, hygiene items, etc.
    • Clean tents, cots, sleeping bags
    • A common kitchen area with a pantry for safe, hygienic food preparation and community dining area for social interaction
    • Garden area,recreation space, quiet tent, and other amenities for rest and healthy activities.
    • Sharing chores to ensure the camp is clean, safe, and well run. This has helped residents feel useful and productive and gives them a sense of belonging
    • Access to resources via partners, donors volunteers ( e.g clothing, hot meals, assistance with laundry, connection to medical and other resources)
    • Relational support and space for healthy relationships with fellow residents and volunteers.
  • It appears that the City does not want to enter into an MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) with the State of California (current camp is on CalTrans property)    which would formalize the arrangement of the camp in the current location. Without such agreement, it is not possible for us to obtain Security services. By their refusal, the city is fermenting the increase of crime affecting camp and contributes to police hesitation to intervene when issues arise, as they question the legitimacy of our residence. The only other solution is for the City to designate a city-owned property for our use ( and potential to purchase) that we would need them to  sanction, as mentioned above. 

How to send a letter of support/public comment:

Join the City Council meeting: You can register to join the meeting and speak during the item here: :

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_k9v6BEVSS9iZBITNDoHIzg

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Call into the meeting here: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):     

US: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656

Webinar ID: 925 7320 5903

The  Fresno City Council meeting starts at 9:00am. Speak during the Unscheduled communication portion, which is after the Mayor’s Comments. Email info@wanif.org to be on a contact list to be notified when the item comes forward. 

To email/call in your support, contact the council members and mayor at these addresses. You can contact as many as you want.

Mayor, Jerry Dyer, 621-8000 jerry.dyer@fresno.gov

District 1, Esmeralda Soria, Contituent line 621-7817, esmeralda.soria@fresno.gov

District 2, Mike Karbassi, Constituent line 621-7821, mike.karbassi@fresno.gov

District 3. Migual Arias, Constituent line 621- 7832, miguel.arias@fresno.gov

District 4, Tyler Maxwell, Assistant’s number,  Nabil 621-7846,  tyler.maxwell@fresno.gov

District 5, Luis Chavez, Assistant’s number, Lucio 621-7854 

Jose 621-7876, luis.chavez@fresno.gov

District 6, Garry Bredefeld, Assistant’s number Daniel 621- 7865, garry.bredefeld@fresno.gov

District 7 Nelson Esparza, Assistant’s number, Leefong 621-7877, nelson.esparza@fresno.gov

Public comment:

Email your public comment to clerk@fresno.gov. State “Public comment for Safe Camp, April 22”

Add you comment directly in eComments. Look for the item in the agenda (it may not yet be added): https://fresno.granicusideas.com/meetings/456-city-council-on-2021-04-22-9-00-am-regular-meeting/agenda_items

November Potluck in the Park

Enjoy a delicious  lunch with our street family on Saturday, November 21, 11am-2pm at Eaton Plaza, the park next to the Fresno Water Tower (map Fresno Water Tower for direction) and Downtown Fresno Library. The lunch starts at noon.

Potluck in the Park is the 3rd Sat of every month and is an opportunity to provide community and friendship with our street family meals by sharing in a meal and conversation. The event is fun and casual and children and leashed pets are welcome! We invite the community to cook a homemade meal and come sit with us as we eat great food and enjoy good conversations with our street families.

For this month, La Jacka will be serving the meal for the potluck

For this months events, we welcome donations of warm clothing and other essentials for Project Share The Warmth,

such as jackets, blankets, socks, gloves, sweat pants, shoes, long sleeved clothing, beanies, etc.

 

And, of course, we welcome you to come, help serve, and enjoy a meal with our street family

 

Toys and Joys for Girls and Boys 2020

WANI is again bringing toys to children living on Motel drive for our 5th Annual Toys and Joys for Girls and Boys!

 

 

December 23 is the day Santa delivers toys throughout the Motels on Motel Drive. We drive from location to location and spend about 30 min or so gift giving, taking pics with Santa, and serving hot chocolate  and pastries.  After the delivery on Motel drive, if we have enough toys we will drive to an apartment complex and bless the children there. This is what makes the day so long, but well worth it!

 

If you are interested in helping deliver toys to homes also please let us know at info@wanif.org

Donations can also be made for the purchase of toys here: 

 

 

Or purchase gifts on our Amazon Wishlist

 

About Toys and Joys for Girls and Boys

We Are Not Invisible launched our annual Toys and Joy for Girls and Boys drive to take toys to homeless children along Motel Drive because these children often are not included in other toys drives, due to their parents inability to participate in the other programs. 

During our other outreach efforts, I’d see the amount of children living in motels and in the streets, and I was shocked to find out that they were not receiving gifts for the holidays, This is who I thought would receive the gifts that I donated to organizations that held toy drives. I called around to many churches and organizations and asked if any go out into the community to deliver gifts. I found out that they were more than happy to add the children to the list to receive a gift but they did not deliver gifts. I knew myself that these families were homeless and living in motels. They did not have transportation to go to churches or other toy outreach locations and definitely did not have enough bus money to go to and from any toy donations spots.”

Toy drives often exclude children of certain ages, as the cut off age is usually 14, leaving out those who are 15-17. 

This inspired the Toys and Joys For Girls and Boys toy drive and outreach.

 I was really shocked about this, but instead of being sad, I decided that, instead of donating the gifts elsewhere, I could go deliver them myself. So, I called a couple of friends with friends and set up a day to drive from motel to motel and deliver Christmas gifts to all the children and teens. I had a “Santa” volunteer (kids love Santa) and I had a couple of local motorcycle clubs volunteer to ride their bikes along with us (kids love motorcycles). So, with Santa, motorcycles, and gifts, the kids had a very happy, blessed day to remember. 

We also had some of the community reach out and join us in our holiday toy caravan to deliver food and clothing. This is what community holiday spirit is about to me. It was a beautiful sight to see the amount of people from many different areas of Fresno come together for our forgotten community.

Since then, we have continued to spearhead the effort annually, connecting with families we see throughout the year.

We encourage you to donate to the age groups often overlooked: children up to three and teenagers. When people donate, it’s usually for children ages four through twelve.  I’m often asked why we include the older teens. I say “why not?” These teens are homeless. Also, they have a huge responsibility on them. They help cook, clean, and raise their siblings, too. They deserve to be appreciated in every way. They are also our future.

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Toys and Joys for Girls and Boys

WANI is again taking out toys to children living on Motel drive for our 4th Annual Toys and Joys for Girls and Boys!

December 23 is the day Santa delivers toys throughout the Motels on Motel Drive. We drive from location to location and spend about 30 min or so gift giving, taking pics with Santa, and serving hot chocolate  and pastries.  After the delivery on Motel drive, if we have enough toys we will drive to an apartment complex and bless the children there. This is what makes the day so long, but well worth it!

Donation Drop Off Locations:

St. James Church, 4147 East Dakota, Fresno, Mon.-Fri. from 9:30am-1:30pm, 559-439-5011

The Big Red Church (First Congregational Church), 2131 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, Mon.-Fri. from 9:00am-3:00p.m., and Sun. 11:30am-1:30p.m.

Rio Mesa Insurance, 3134 Willow Street, Suite #102, Clovis, 9:00am-3:00pm

Regency Properties, 331 West Shields Ave, Fresno, 9:00am-3:30pm

Gift Wrapping Parties

Wrapping parties are December 14 and 20. We wrap all the gifts and organize them in gender and age groups, while drinking hot chocolate and cider with delicious desserts.

If you are interested in helping deliver toys to homes also please let us know at info@wanif.org

Donations can also be made for the purchase of toys here:

We Are Not Invisible launched our annual Toys and Joy for Girls and Boys drive to take toys to homeless children along Motel Drive because these children often are not included in other toys drives, due to their parents inability to participate in the other programs. 

During our other outreach efforts, I’d see the amount of children living in motels and in the streets, and I was shocked to find out that they were not receiving gifts for the holidays, This is who I thought would receive the gifts that I donated to organizations that held toy drives. I called around to many churches and organizations and asked if any go out into the community to deliver gifts. I found out that they were more than happy to add the children to the list to receive a gift but they did not deliver gifts. I knew myself that these families were homeless and living in motels. They did not have transportation to go to churches or other toy outreach locations and definitely did not have enough bus money to go to and from any toy donations spots.”

Toy drives often exclude children of certain ages, as the cut off age is usually 14, leaving out those who are 15-17. 

This inspired the Toys and Joys For Girls and Boys toy drive and outreach.

 I was really shocked about this, but instead of being sad, I decided that, instead of donating the gifts elsewhere, I could go deliver them myself. So, I called a couple of friends with friends and set up a day to drive from motel to motel and deliver Christmas gifts to all the children and teens. I had a “Santa” volunteer (kids love Santa) and I had a couple of local motorcycle clubs volunteer to ride their bikes along with us (kids love motorcycles). So, with Santa, motorcycles, and gifts, the kids had a very happy, blessed day to remember. 

We also had some of the community reach out and join us in our holiday toy caravan to deliver food and clothing. This is what community holiday spirit is about to me. It was a beautiful sight to see the amount of people from many different areas of Fresno come together for our forgotten community.

Since then, we have continued to spearhead the effort annually, connecting with families we see throughout the year.

We encourage you to donate to the age groups often overlooked: children up to three and teenagers. When people donate, it’s usually for children ages four through twelve.  I’m often asked why we include the older teens. I say “why not?” These teens are homeless. Also, they have a huge responsibility on them. They help cook, clean, and raise their siblings, too. They deserve to be appreciated in every way. They are also our future.

Vigil for Brother Rick

Please join us Wednesday, November 13 at 5:30pm. to honor and share memories of my street family member I was proud to call my brother, Rick Limas. Services will be across the street from the Sands Motel, which is at 1441 North Golden State, at Pine and Golden State.

I met Brother Rick back in 2016 when he first became homeless. He always would say a prayer over me, give me spiritual protection while out in the streets. When I met both Tom & Rick I had my own black alley I was going down. These 2 Angels appeared in my life and gave me Faith. So many stories and wisdom I can share about the both of them. But I cant see through the constant flow of tears.
This week has been one of my hardest. I didn’t have time to heal let alone breath. You see, you do not have to be blood to be family, your just family and that’s it. And that’s how my brothers were, My Family. They gave wisdom, protection, unconditional love, brotherly advice lol & would clothe and feed anyone cold or hungry even if it was their last piece of bread or only coat.

One of Brother Ricks wishes while homeless was for a drumming circle to come out to one of the feedings, He said ” My spirit needs it”, he would talk about the war and battles being fought out there in the streets at night and how so many souls are lost and need healing. He said “Sister, if no one will come , all I need is some wood and buck skin and I will make my own”. No one ever came and i never got that wood and buck skin.

I am asking for all brothers & sisters to come out and honor a warrior who took care of the Invisible people in the streets while he was unhoused and  housed. He was a Warrior in so many other ways and deserves so much more. Please Share this, I’m hoping we get a drumming circle to honor our Native Brother and give him that wish he so deserved.

Vigil for Tower Tom November 8

We welcome the community to join us tonight for a vigil is being held for Thomas Pena, who called himself Tower Tom, Friday evening, November 8, 6:00 at the canal near Belmont and Fulton.

While he didn’t have a house, Tower District was his home. Tower Tom was not just any individual on the streets in the Tower District. He was every part of the Tower District. For over ten years that he resided in the Tower District Community, he cleaned the community by sweeping it with a handmade broom or a Dollar Tree broom or a leaf blower. He also picked up at least 50 needles a day trying to protect children from seeing them or pick them up accidentally. He did a lot for his community and he was targeted also.”

his vigil is also to raise awareness about our street family members who are out here; how many of them are true angels; how many of them truly care about our community; how many of them want to see our streets clean and drug free. He was that man. He was that man. He was somebody who cared about his house and his house was the Tower District.

November Potluck in the Park

Enjoy a delicious  lunch with our street family on Saturday, November 23, 11am-2pm at Eaton Plaza, the park next to the Fresno Water Tower (map Fresno Water Tower for direction) and Downtown Fresno Library. The lunch starts at noon.

 

Potluck in the Park is the 3rd Sat of every month and is an opportunity to provide community and friendship with our street family meals by sharing in a meal and conversation. The event is fun and casual and children and leashed pets are welcome! We invite the community to cook a homemade meal and come sit with us as we eat great food and enjoy good conversations with our street families.

For this month, several food trucks will be on hand to provide food.

For this months events, we need donations of these items:

  • Plates, forks, and cutlery
  • soft drinks and other drinks

And, of course, we welcome you to come, help serve, and enjoy a meal with our street family

With your support we can share a meal with our forgotten community.

To volunteer, donate, or inquire about Potluck in the Park please email us at Info@wanif.org
If you would like to donate, you can by dropping off items needed or donate to our PayPal

 

 

October Potluck in the Park

Spend a beautiful October morning enjoying lunch with our street family! Join us in participating in our October Potluck in the Park on Saturday, October 19, 11am-2pm at Eaton Plaza, the park next to the Fresno Water Tower (map Fresno Water Tower for direction) and Downtown Fresno Library.

We need your Help!
For this months events, we need donations of these items:

  • Beef/pork ribs
  • Tri-tip
  • Homemade macaroni and cheese
  • green bean casserole
  • desserts
  • beverages

With your help we can!!!...A few ways to help!

1, Donate an item needed
2,  Cook an item needed
3.  Donate monetarily for the purchase of the items needs

And, of course, we welcome you to come, help serve, and enjoy a meal with our street family

With your support we can Share a meal with our forgotten community.

Potluck in the Park is the 3rd Sat of every month. We invite the community to cook a homemade meal and come sit with us as we eat great food and enjoy good conversations with our street families.

To volunteer, donate, or inquire about Potluck in the Park please email us at Info@wanif.org
If you would like to cook a dish or provide a dish, contact Irma at 614-8001.
If you would like to donate, you can by dropping off items needed or donate to our PayPal

 

September Potluck in the Park

We welcome you to our September Potluck in the Park on Saturday, September 21, 11am-2pm at Eaton Plaza, the park next to the Fresno Water Tower (map Fresno Water Tower for direction) and Downtown Fresno Library.

See and share our Facebook event invite here

Potluck in the Park is the 3rd Sat of every month. We invite the community to cook a homemade meal and come sit with us as we eat great food and enjoy good conversations with our street families.
This months theme is Hispanic Food.
If you would like to cook a dish and join us, you are more than welcome! To volunteer or contribute food or other items for the potluck, contact Irma at 614-8001.
If you would like to donate, you can by dropping off items needed or donate to our PayPal

 

We would love for you to come join us!

Potluck

Services for Baby Zar’ie

Please join Akifa, Denny, and Naszariah as they honor and say goodbye to Baby Zar’ie 💜💛💜

The family would like to keep the colors bright and ask no dark colors worn. She said, “It’s a celebration of the time we had with her.”

Services will be held at the First Congregational Church (The Big Red Church), 2131 North Van Ness, then we will be at Mountain View Celebration for graveside services.

The family would like you to join them back at the family would like to invite everyone back to the Big Red Church for repast.

💜🦋💛🦋💜🦋💛🦋💜🦋💛🦋💜🦋💛🦋

Rest In Heaven Baby Zar’ie

#babyzar’ie #homelesslivesmatter #restinheaven