This reflection is based off of our third time volunteering at Harringon Hall on Thursday April 21, 2016. Today we went to volunteer and were told that the couple from the church prefers that we don’t interfere with helping feed the men because that is their volunteer service or something like that. Let it be. We, instead, helped out with the clothing closet. Men were sent down one by one, later forming a line, and we helped them pick out whatever clothing they wanted from the clothing closet.
The clothing closet is full of clothes that were donated from people and organizations in the community and larger corporations. Nike, for example, donates a couples pairs of shoes and clothing. Supposedly their rejects. I could go on a rant for why they can’t donate nonrejected clothing, or why they can’t donate 1000x as much as they did, but I digress. The fact that they did donate something is good.
It was nice being able to interact with the men one on one for a little while, and share a brief conversation with them. You really get to see the range of mental illness through the different interactions you have with the men. Starting to recognize some faces and names but it’s hard. The men are slowly warming up to us and are very grateful, usually. Theresa is also warming up to us a bit which is nice. It’s a strange environment. Nothing “quotable” from this past week, but I don’t think there always will be.
On the upper level, they added this 7 inch plexiglass barrier above the top of the elevated stage (as if the separation wasn’t distinct enough). It makes handing towels/sheets even more awkward and obstructed. One of the staff members had said that he thought it was going to be made higher when we asked him why it was put there to begin with.
We also briefly spoke with Andrew (?) the other volunteer from Brown who had been coming here since February? Or a while now. He said he is coming for a class on Anthropology of the Homeless or something like that. He told us he does field notes every week (which I had suggested might be helpful to read or at least talk to him about his observations). When he described the class and how he didn’t really like it/it was his least priority, I felt kind of sad. I hope that doesn’t apply to how he treats his work at Harrington Hall.
Today (04/23) at DFA, we had a workshop as a part of the Brown Changefest. Bill Foulkes and some other Brown Entrepreneurship guy spoke. Both of whom mentioned Nike, of course. Hence the title of this post.