Aerial of Island Hardware

As we prepare to celebrate and to hunker down with the severe cold front heading our way, I want to take a moment to share a sweet and sad story.

There is a young person who grew up on Orcas and has hit a very low point.  That individual’s upbringing was rough, with a challenging father and a fragile mom.  Dad died young and mom died recently.  This young adult has addiction and anger issues and was evicted from the apartment they shared with their mom due to destructive behavior.

Fortunately support was available through the Orcas Community Resource Center (OCRC) and Compass Health.  They secured a space in a rehab and this person completed the program and returned to a room at the Sober Home here on Orcas.  Unfortunately, a month of treatment did not resolve anger issues or build the skills needed to manage them and our young resident was unable to comply with the rules at the home and was asked to leave.  Once back on the streets  drinking problems re-emerged.

I was over at OCRC when this young person stopped by to request a blanket.  Holly said they were all out.  I went by Score, the 2nd hand store, where the shopkeeper gave me two warm blankets to give to OCRC for distribution.

I then posted on Facebook that I was looking for sleeping bags.  Marce Holmes, of Island Hardware fame, contacted me and offered brand new sleeping bags.  When I drove over to pick them up, Marce and her elf loaded the back of my car with 4 new sleeping bags, warm hats, and brand-new hoodies to donate to OCRC.

I ran into this person and explained there was a sleeping bag waiting.  I was greeted by a smile and clapping of hands and a sweet thank you. I let our islander know that most folks make several attempts to gain sobriety, that hopefully next time, we’d be ready to welcome them home with some better mental health support.  I also offered dentures through the dental van once  enough healing occurs.  It is a long road ahead but it can be travelled.

They say it takes a village to raise a child.  Having raised one on Orcas, I can truly say that there is no better village to do so.  But unfortunately, sometimes some of our children fall through the cracks. They are still ours to support. I am so very grateful for this community.  For folks who try to help, even when it is challenging.  Homelessness and addiction exist in every community in this nation.  I am hopeful that we can find a compassionate solution and we are working on it.

I wish you all the wonder and joy this season can bring.  Stay healthy and warm!