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 21 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

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

Project H20: Help provide life sustaining water to our street family

Water is Life.

And it’s a huge need for our street family. Without adequate, regular access to water, our street family deal with lack of proper hydration. Summer can be an especially dangerous time, with increase risks of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other dehydration related health problems.

We need partnerships, starting this spring time, with community members to provide water to our street family. Plan with your church, group, or family and friends to raise donations of water or donate financially directly to We Are Not Invisible. 

Fill out our interest form if you would like to get involved in Project H2O

Donate towards water here (let us know the donation is for water)

Volunteers and Gifts needed for toy drive!

24131094_1931671250427837_4271699611687175355_n

Volunteer sign up form

Toys and Joys for Girls and Boys

Join the 20 day challenge to collect enough toys to provide for all of the homeless children living on Motel Drive.

We are collecting toys that will be given to homeless children that Desiree has encountered on Motel Drive.

DONATION DATES: tba

WRAPPING PARTY: tba

GIFT HAND OUT: tba

What we need:

Businesses, churches, and other locations to serve as drop off locations

Donations of toys for children of all ages 0-18
Note: Often, children ages 0-3 and 13-17 are overlooked. We need gifts for those ages as well. Here are suggestions for gifts for children of these ages-
0-3: Educational stuffed animals, educational books, educational games, training juice cups, blankets, socks, hygiene kits, playmats.
13-17: Movie tickets, headphones, cologne. perfume, mp3 player, boardgames, hair dryer/curling iron, hygiene kits, gift cards,

You are welcome donated money towards gifts by sending money via Paypal

Volunteers to help wrap gifts  and help deliver toys.

GET INVOLVED! SIGN UP HERE!!

For more information, please email homelessinfresno@gmail.com or call 559-898-2551

  last year’s event:

47150935_2143614285900198_3417806657713864704_o

Founder Desiree’s Story

Founder Desiree Martinez’s Story

…and why We Are Not Invisible was founded.

Hello,  I am Desiree.  On July 11, 2016, I moved into a permanent place I could finally call home. Prior to that I was homeless. I went from my car to a shelter back to my car and was also allowed to stay at friends from time to time. This went on for a year and half. I was not on alcohol or drugs. My homelessness happened due to the lack of funds I receive from SSD (disability). I was put on SSD in 2010 when my spinal cord was severed and I had a spinal fusion.

I had been very depressed and had suicidal thoughts. I found an organization (media school) in my city that allowed me to be there from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday.

This was my safe haven and I was able to keep my mind off my life out there and focus on positive things. While at the media school, I learned how to edit, film, and create shows. I began to use the school and what I learned to get by making shows or interviews for the Fresno community.  I also started Fresno Eatz, a food show, in order to get free food. This helped me, so I wanted to help others out there and use the tools to raise awareness  and help end hunger in our community.

While being homeless, I found that many churches and organizations did not help. I found myself calling everyday for shelter and food. The only answer I would get was “We do not have any funding available right now, I can give you another number you can try.” Local food banks were so far from each other that I never have bus fare to go get food. I am on SSDI and in California we do not receive any type of food allowance such as SNAP. It was very depressing, not only not having a permanent place, but also not having any food to eat.

When I finally got into a room I could barely afford ( my rent is 95% of my check), I continued to go out and raise awareness on the lack of funding and help we have in the field for  our forgotten part of the community. I used the skills I learned at the media school and social media to reach out to the community and get more people involved with our less fortunate.

I started to hand out water because that was all I could afford ($2.50 case) and the lack of access to water throughout our community streets was an urgent necessity. That is now a yearly project called Project H2O.

During my time out everyday, I found more and more items needed in order to just survive everyday out in the streets, We started a hygiene drive, coat drive, and blanket drive. This has now turned into Project Share The Warmth, which runs through our cold winter months.

On April 9, 2017, I completed 365 days, every day, in the field with the street families.  I would go out everyday, regardless of weather, to hand out water, food, hygiene kits or just go out to communicate and just hang out with our less fortunate.

It’s not always about the food. It’s about communication and rehumanizing our chronically homeless and helping our less fortunate.

Please take a moment and  view our short documentary on We are not Invisible.

We are Not Invisible  is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.