Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Monday, October 18, 2004

BIG BIG Family

This place can take your breath away.

Because we were hosting a new group, and because I ended up cooking for them, and because they are friends of mine, I was hanging out on a Saturday night. I thought maybe just once I would be able to get the people started and get out of here at a decent time.

But then the hurricane arrived, in the form of a rather large family:

Mom, age 33
Step dad, age 26
17 year old daughter
her 2 week old daughter
the father of the baby
14 year old daughter
12 year old son
11 year old son
9 year old son
8 year old son
6 year old son
5 year old daughter
3 year old daughter

They arrived this weekend in a minivan, driving from Louisiana. At age 33, the mother had her first baby at 13. They drove straight through in three days. I'm not even sure that's possible, and especially with all those kids and sleeping in the van in rest stops on the way here. But the 17 year old daughter who is a mother said it only took them three days, two nights.

We got them settled in a cheap hotel for a few nights, gave them a list of resources. We filled their tank with gas (the father dodged into the quickie-mart and got a job app!). I don't know how they physically survived. I put four of the kids into my car for the run to the hotel, and still their van was crowded. They made quite an impression; half of them were bare footed when they got into the dispatch center.

What are they thinking? And more importantly, where will they go today?