What gives Camp Hope residents hope

HEAT WAVE DAY 7 | The biggest needs are ice, Gatorade, large bottles of water, pet food, gauze, and pre-packaged food.

HEAT WAVE DAY 7 | The biggest needs are ice, Gatorade, large bottles of water, pet food, gauze, and pre-packaged food.

We’ve been checking in with our unhoused neighbors at Camp Hope every day during this heat wave to see how they’re faring and what they need. Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here and Day 6 here.

To conclude our week-long coverage of the Camp Hope community through this heat wave, RANGE asked Camp Hope residents what is bringing them hope. Here’s what they shared about what is bringing them hope right now:

Melissa B.: “In each other, in Jewels (Julie Garcia) in the people that are actually willing to come out here and get to know us and get to know us not just as ‘oh just the homeless,’ because we’re not ‘oh just the homeless,’ we all have a backstory. Everyone of us has a story to why we are homeless and why we are out here. And it’s no different than any other person.”

“We find hope through the resources that do come up through Jewels (Garcia). Jewels is number one at coming through the camp and being like ‘come on guys, let’s do this’ when our hopes are down, when we’re all bummed out and we’re giving up.”

“What they want is for us to be hidden. Right now, if this cooling center wasn’t here, we’d have people who couldn’t make it.”

“The hope comes from each other, if it wasn’t for our neighbors building us up, our friends, then there wouldn’t be hope.”

Camp Hope residents Melissa B. (left) and Karen Potter cool down in front of the swamp coolers inside the cooling tent at Camp Hope in Spokane, Wash. on Friday, July 29, 2022 (Erick Doxey for RANGE Media)

Patricia Stokes: “You got to have patience and I know it will happen soon. But just for something better, it’s not going to be too long, but I know something better will come along. But, definitely my kids give me hope.”

Chris Senn: “Seeing the good in some people. There’s people in the community that just come out of nowhere and drop off like ice cream or cold drinks. I met a guy yesterday. He’s a retired nurse, came through here and handed out bottles of water and washcloths.”

It’s getting hard to keep hope, but you just can’t give up.”

Chris Senn speaks with RANGE Media reporter Carl Segerstrom at Camp Hope in Spokane, Wash. on Thursday, July 28, 2022 (Erick Doxey for RANGE Media)

David Stephens: “What gives me hope is seeing these people at Camp Hope sticking together through the summer, being with each other, opening up to the community and just having fun – just caring.”

Bee Xiong Xtoyed: “I don’t know. I have no idea. It’s kind of tough for me right now. I’m at a loss for words.”

Kristen Gerloff: “Me and my husband are moving and I just got a job. We’re going to be moving soon to his home state – Arkansas. I put in applications and everything and they said when I get there just contact them – at the Waffle House. So, moving and having a job.”

Secily Dawnelle: “Different vendors giving really generous donations. Popsicles. The good bottles of water – the Life ones. I’ve seen people take one drink and the whole water bottle would be gone. If we could get more of those, maybe people wouldn’t be passing out in the street and stuff. And any good nutrition.

Izzy: “Look around you,” Izzy said, motioning to people gathered in the cooling shelter to take refuge from the 100-degree heat. “You have people who have nothing helping other people who have nothing. People who give without the expectation of anything in return, while still putting a smile on someone else’s face in the worst days of their lives. It can’t get better than that.”

To get involved in mutual aid and help out, go here.

—Additional reporting by Erick Doxey, edited by Valerie Osier

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