Thursday, February 10, 2011
By Danny Whatley
Director, Noon Day Ministries
As a transplanted New Mexican I have very little experience in how we in Albuquerque step up in a crisis. I experienced that firsthand this past week when the weather took a dangerous turn that put hundreds in jeopardy.
As the director of Noon Day Ministries, after discussion with our board of directors, it was decided that because the available shelter bed space in Albuquerque was not adequate to handle the number of homeless during this weather event to offer our facility and services as an emergency shelter. I contacted the directors of the overnight shelters in the city and advised them of our decision.
We did not have adequate supplies for this endeavor, but we immediately felt the compassion of the community.
The city of Albuquerque was first in its response by providing additional blankets, pillows and other emergency supplies.
The local community then started arriving with other supplies that would see us through this event.
On the first night, Tuesday, we had a couple come to Noon Day and deliver some blankets and clothing. This couple asked what else they could do, and I advised them that I thought we were OK.
They left, and a few hours later they came back with a carload of bottled water and a cash donation to Noon Day.
The next night this couple was back. They were sitting on the floor talking with some of the individuals who were spending the night at Noon Day. They realized that sometimes all those who are hurting and in need would like is a little conversation, a little compassion and they had provided that.
I could recount several stories and events that occurred over this past week that would make you proud of your city.
I would like to thank Mayor Richard Berry and the city of Albuquerque, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the other ministries and services to the homeless and the individuals and churches that provided support during the week.
The outpouring of compassion from the community this past week was amazing, and I was glad to be a part of this event and to witness the support from the city and its residents.