When the Evansville school system cancels school because of inclement weather, Patchwork officially closes as well. No food pantry. No Arts & Smarts.
But if you stop by our building on a snow day, you might find some people here with a warm pot of coffee waiting. Many of our staff and volunteers live close by, so if it’s safe and we are able, we make our way to the building to open up. Some walk. Some drive a few blocks on the snowy streets. We know that many of our regulars aren’t able or wouldn’t think to check area closings and realize that cancelled schools mean no Patchwork. We know someone will be waiting outside the doors in the cold at 8:30 am to come in for coffee.
On snow days, the group inside Patchwork is usually smaller than usual, but there’s a special camaraderie among everyone who has made through the storm. One man shoveled and salted our walkways while his bike was repaired in the Bike Shop. Phil managed to get Patchwork’s truck cleared off and over to the Food Bank to pick up our weekly food delivery. Even though the Patchwork Food Pantry was closed, John and Chris stocked the shelves and set out bread and overflowing crates of sweet potatoes and oranges for anyone to take.
A few people took warm showers, and many of our neighbors walked in for their usual cup of coffee and fellowship–a few with grandchildren home from school in tow. Helen came in for her usual coffee hostessing, and chatted with the assembled group. She offered to make another pot of coffee when business picked up, and everyone gladly accepted. John listened to one man’s serious medical issues and tried daily to get him connected to the medical care that he needs. The man was motivated, but the health care system was not. Meanwhile, we missed the many regulars who couldn’t come out in the snow to see us, but we were glad they stayed safe at home. We checked in on them to make sure they were OK and their sidewalks were shoveled.
It is times like this that make Patchwork Patchwork. They are what makes us, as John Rich said Tuesday, not an organization in the neighborhood but an organization of the neighborhood.