Straw Bales; Lots More; Shopping Run? Song: Straw Against The Chill

CONTENTS 1/21/2021
C Against The Chill
Moral Injury
Eviction Notice? Don’t Panic
Shopping Run?
Soup Brigade: Today’s Ingredients
Batteries Needed
Underclothes Needed
Shopping Run?
Soup Brigade
Today’s Ingredients
Free Dishwasher
Stolen Bike
Radio Free Fl!p: Straw Against The Chill


Wow! Over 100 bales! I love you SO much!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart….

The whole day was so busy I never even finished making breakfast till almost dinnertime. Is it possible this was the busiest day of my life.? (Well no, the 38 hours of labor with my firstborn were certainly busier!) Of course, who knows what tomorrow may bring…

I woke up at 6:25 to take Zeke in for a medical procedure (which went fine). There were already messages about straw bales waiting on my phone when I woke up, which was pretty exciting. And then they just kept coming, all day long. Emails and texts and facebook messages and phone calls. Knocks on the door. Envelopes through the mail slot. Cash, checks, Venmo, PayPal, promises to mail. It was SO moving, talking with everyone, hearing their concern and witnessing their generosity.

Many people donated enough for one bale. Some folks bought 10 or 20, or everything in between. I tried to enter it all in a spreadsheet as I went along but I got mixed up a few times. Zeke is helping sort it out right now. A bit before noon, I ran a quick total and panicked. I called the Farmer’s Co-op to see how many bales they had! Over a hundred. Enough. Dayenu!

Then I checked in with my contacts among the outreach volunteers to see how many bales they could actually use. All of them!!! But they needed tarps too, to make dry, windproof shelters that won’t blow down. So I started searching online, making phone calls, inquiring about local inventory and possible discounts. Both Hardware Sales and Harbor Freight found me some great deals.

At one point I was on hold with a store, and also on the phone with a donor, and someone knocked on the door. And someone else was waiting outside the gate!!! And everybody was patient with me. But by the time I went to try to enter the money, I had forgotten the name of the first person, who handed me cash. But I did get the cash entered at least. It’s a learning curve…

Braided in to my day with the straw bales was the usual parade of cooks for soup ingredients, inquiries, and pots & pans flowing in and out. And today, folks brought still more supplies for the Mamas in the Motel, including three different women who brought cash for them. Specifically cash, not gift cards, so each of the women could begin again to make her own choices after having been trapped in domestic violence. I dug out some really fancy envelopes for the cash from my desk. Presentation makes a difference. I get to assist you all as you wrap the world in kindness, one heart at a time.

I feel a little like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, trying to conduct a tidal wave… And it’s thrilling! My job is to make the best and most effective use of every penny each of you gave. And to connect with outreach volunteers who will treasure every hand-knitted, hand-sewn, and sometimes even hand-spun hat and scarf. Wonderful Outreach volunteers who encourage the folks they meet to choose for themselves which hat, which scarf, which sweater, which coat. Who offer respect and dignity even in these appalling circumstances.

Ahwren took a first load of a dozen bales at around 3:00 PM today. Tomorrow she will go back for more. And more. And more. Load after load. More than 100 bales! Brett will help in the afternoon with his trailer. I had hoped we might raise funds for 50 bales, maybe. We will actually make lives dryer, warmer, safer for a substantial number of our neighbors trapped camping in the cold. So many tents have blown down in the wind and rain all these months. Straw bales don’t blow down. It’s not good enough, but I believe it may save some lives and buy time while we create alternative systems and get them up and running, to replace the old ones which are so clearly not working.

Some checks are in the mail, and I’m going to go ahead and spend the promised money. The other thing still needed is hands on the ground who can help build with the bales. The weather forecast is not only for snow, it’s for temperatures in the low 30s with wind chill into the 20s. And many campers are not in shape to build their own shelters. Medical bills are a common reason for homelessness.

So I’ve had my dinner of good leftover chicken soup. I’ve handed off the day’s clothing donations, plus some batteries, hats, and scarves. I was able to send along a bunch of headlamps that use AA batteries. Campers go through a lot of batteries on these long winter nights, and there are always requests for headlamps. The clear blue plastic laundry bags for wet blankets arrived today as well. This brings us one step closer to a Blanket Brigade. AND a kind subscriber offered to help coordinate the effort! So if you’re interested in washing and drying blankets, hold your horses just a little longer, and I’ll be able to tell you how to sign up.

So Everybody – Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this amazing day happen. It was fun, exciting, overwhelming, and so very touching. THANK YOU!!!

I’m going to send out this update, go set up the morning eggs, feed the cat, and fall over! And sleep in till 8:30 tomorrow!
All my love/ Fl!p


I would beg you all to write, or to write again, to our elected officials. I know they can’t spend money they don’t have, but it costs less in the long run to get people into simple housing than it does to pay for emergency room visits, motel rooms, and police response. And not caring for our most vulnerable citizens causes moral injury to our whole community. If we abandon others, each of us could be next to be abandoned, and we know that truth in our heart of hearts. It leaves us all more frightened and more isolated.

City Hall’s street address is 210 Lottie Street, 98225.

The Whatcom County Courthouse address is 311 Grand Avenue, 98225


The City has posted an order to get the campers to respect a 25 foot buffer around City Hall to protect from fire hazards, and to get tents back off the pathways so workers can get in and out. It’s an adjustment, not an order to clear the whole encampment.


UNDERCLOTHES NEEDED:  Contact me for details.


Is there someone who could do a morning shopping run for me to SmartFood (used to be Cash&Carry, on Ohio). I can pay for it all, and can send you a very detailed list including isle numbers. I had planned to arrange this for today, but today got away from me. I’m hoping to have supplies arrive here before 2 PM. 360-671-4511. Thank you!


Meal Train is a little short on sign-ups. Can anyone fill in some missing meals? Grab a buddy and go for it!


Once the shopping run gets back, I will have lots more! Right now I still have pasta, rice, chicken soup base, 30# onions, 20 dozen eggs, and about a pound of shredded cheddar. After shopping we’ll add a bunch more cheese, lentils or split peas, carrots and celery, and another case each of cups and lids.


Kirkland whirlpool energy saver Model: SUD5100
Good working order. All parts, minus supply line included.
Out front of 2212 Victor St.
Rob Holmgren, Victor St.


Our housemate’s bike was stolen from our garage at 2425 Kulshan Street, sometime during the first two weeks of January. It is a black commuter bike, with “one less car” and “phish” stickers on the frame. There is a rear storage rack with an attached u-lock. There is a front suspension shock. He believes there is an old identification sticker under the lower frame, perhaps with the name Eric Johnson. It was originally a Specialized mountain bike, but the brand labels no longer exist, and it has been modified into a commuter bike. If you see a bike matching this description, please call my housemate, Leif (Eric Johnson), at 360-506-4989.
Thank you,
Becky Curtis
Kulshan St.


My friend Bob Franke wrote a lovely song. It’s not from my own faith tradition, but it’s been running through my head all day. Songs have a way of doing that. This version sung by Kathy Mattea

Love/Fl!p 360-671-4511  2518 Cherry Street

If you’re willing to share your phone and address with me, personally, I would love that, and would not share it further without your express permission.

If you want to ask me to post something, just email me. If it’s urgent, phone. If it’s a real emergency, call 911.

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