People ready to donate time and goods, bake brownies and otherwise help welcome homeless people to the Oakmont area filled chairs in the East Rec Center to hear Jack Tibbetts of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) say “let’s demystify what’s going on and get the facts.”
The turnout of 85 people responded to social media and word of mouth invitations from Nadine Condon, who organized the Jan. 23 meeting.
“I was not expecting this – to see all the chairs so full,” Tibbetts, the head of SVDP, said looking over the hall. “All of you have really reached out to say ‘I want to help.’”
Tibbetts spent more than an hour explaining how the Los Guilicos village his agency is setting up across Highway 12 from Oakmont will operate and fielding questions, most of which were about how to help. “Let’s model a new attitude of health and support,” he said.
Tibbetts listed the schedule for meal times, transportation and activity periods for the village’s 60 residents, with the first arriving Sunday, Jan. 26.
A St. Vincent DePaul truck will be parked at the village to receive donations. Tibbetts listed sleeping bags, warm jackets, toiletry packages, DVCs, books, board games, bottled water, coffee and tea, and men’s and women’s socks and underwear.
One man said he would write a SVDP check for $1,000, earning Tibbett’s thanks. People also can sign up to help prepare meals at SVDP for delivery to the village.
An advisory council will be set up for the village, scheduled to operate on the site off Pythian Road through April. Tibbetts said it would include eight Oakmont residents, 2 people from the village and directors of the two adjacent county agencies. Six to eight village residents also will be asked to form an advisory council, he said.