"It was my first night handing out socks, I had been instructed to give what was needed but not to be frivolous because we had a lot of stops that night and socks are always a huge request. The man that approached the bus was close to my age and really tall. He asked for socks and I handed him a pair, smiled, and asked if he needed anything else. He smiled back and said he needed two more pairs of socks - the big thick ones - for his shoes. I shook my head (of course they're for your shoes, silly) but I reached back into the bus for two gray, super-thick sock rolls and handed them to him. He was delighted and said that he wasn't trying to be stingy, he needed them for his shoes. I laughed it off but he wasn't having it. He sat down next to me and took the shoes off of his feet...two stumps really, not feet. Every single toe was missing. He stuffed the rolled-up socks I had just given him into the tip of his shoes and slid his foot back in and said, 'See? For balance. You know, it's not the day they freeze, it's the days after that hurt the worst. The dead part just keeps dying and if they don't get those toes off you can lose your whole foot or even your leg.' He must have seen my look of horror but he just smiled and said, 'KK and you guys helped me with my toes or I would've died. The socks I learned from myself.' He stood up with the help of the bus's back door and said, 'don't ever think we want more than we need...where would we put it anyway?' He laughed and then he was gone. Lesson number one on sock night." -CBB Volunteer
It's warmer now, our cold snap is over and yet all any of us can think is ..."it's not the day they freeze." The toes come off days later, after unimaginable pain and suffering. Peeling off dead tissue, treating frostbite while standing IN the snow. Mentholatum in the mask, breathe through the mouth. Toes, so small and yet they cause such large amounts of pain.
If the way you stay alive is by walking, what do you do when you can't walk? If they have to walk to get to our bus for help what do they do if it is too painful for them to leave their tent?
So we brace ourselves, prepare our volunteer list, stock our bandage shelves, fill the bus with fuel and we go find them.
We know their pain, we know them by name, we will find them.
Compassionate Healthcare for All