By Beverly Fitzpatrick
On Dec. 29, volunteers from Wings Advocacy Fresno (Wings) participated in a special project, providing 165 welcome baskets to those moving, at the beginning of the new year, into the newly renovated apartments at Crossroads Village. Wings was asked by the Fresno County Department of Social Services if it would take the lead on the welcome basket effort.
The Wings Board and volunteers were more than willing to take on this project. Carol Boos, a member of the Board and a dedicated volunteer, agreed to lead the effort, along with volunteer Gloria Chavez. Boos and Chavez oversee the “welcome basket area” at the Wings warehouse, and knowing what essential items to purchase, within Wings’ budget, was important.
Wings provides a welcome basket for each of its clients, along with furniture, a new mattress and household items. Clients often send thank you notes, letting Wings know how valuable the items in the basket are, because such items cannot be purchased with an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card. Such items include cleaning products, paper products and personal hygiene (even feminine hygiene) products.
Crossroads Village began moving residents in the week of Jan. 11. The former Smuggler’s Inn was acquired by Fresno County after being awarded $15.3 million by the state’s Homekey program. The county, along with developers RH Community Builders and UPholdings, is rehabilitating the property. Crossroads Village will provide permanent housing for more than 200 people now staying in emergency shelter beds.
“The Crossroads Village will provide permanent housing for people in our community,” said Steve Brandau, vice chair of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. “This is a big step forward in our efforts to find realistic, sustainable solutions to homelessness in Fresno County. This will have a positive impact on those seeking housing as well as the surrounding community.”
After six years, Wings Advocacy Fresno, a nonprofit, is still making a difference for the unhoused in Fresno and Clovis. Its furniture bank and document programs serve families, including veterans and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.
A safe place to call home is more important now than ever before. Wings volunteers help make a house a home for our most vulnerable men, women, children and veterans.
To learn more about Wings Advocacy Fresno, visit www.wingsfresno.org.
Beverly Fitzpatrick is a Wings Advocacy Fresno Board member and warehouse lead. Contact her at email@example.com.