October 31, 2022 - Where Do the Witches, Ghosts and Monsters Go?

OCTOBER 31, 2022

I’m going to describe a recent chain of thoughts, moving from what it feels like to not have a home, to Halloween décor, to storage units. Hopefully, It will make sense in the end. Right this minute - it all seems very disconnected


Last week when I planned this week’s newsletter, I knew I wanted to write about homelessness. I had read the following question in an on-line help column, and I had been thinking of it off and on for days.


Is being homeless as bad as people think?”


It was answered by a man who had experienced homelessness for 10 years. I will only share a short portion of it. 


It's considerably worse. 


When people think of homelessness, they think of someone sleeping rough, maybe in a cardboard box. They think it’s cold. They think they’ll be hungry. 


My god, you have no idea what those things really are.


I do not doubt that you have been cold at many points in your life. You may have been very cold. But homeless cold is different. You’re not just a bit chilly, your entire soul is frozen. Your bones feel like they’ve been kept in a freezer for a week and implanted in your flesh


I have no doubt you’ve felt hungry. But trust me, you have never felt real hunger. Hungry for you is that feeling you get at lunch after skipping breakfast. Real hunger is different. Real hunger hurts - a lot. You can hallucinate. I’ve gone nearly two weeks without food, I’ve been hungry. You were mildly peckish at best.


His response touched me deeply and I was all set to share his full response with you, and leave it at that, but as I moved through my weekend life, homelessness kept getting mixed in with so many other issues I encountered. 


Just driving around on my regular errands, enjoying the decorated yards of people who go all out for Halloween, I wondered where they store everything the rest of the year?


Where do the witches, ghosts and monsters go?


 As I walked into my house and saw my one, orange bin, sitting in my dining room, waiting for Fall décor to be stowed and Christmas to come out, I wondered if people have whole rooms of Halloween décor boxed up like I have Christmas décor. I know... it’s a little embarrassing – it’s just stuff, right? Sure, some of it was handmade by people I love, some was gifted to me or passed down in a family, but most of it is just happy stuff that I couldn’t even name if it all got washed away in a flood. My thoughts and compassion moved to the unfortunate young family who lost their home to fire last week and I felt not so great about having a room full of stuff. Things that really served no purpose but to decorate an already beautiful home.


Again, I wondered about where people who don’t have empty rooms to fill with stuff, put it all when it’s out of season? 


I have friends who have invested in some handmade, extraordinary Adirondack style chairs for around the fire pit in their yard. They rent a storage unit each winter to store them. They are large and heavy but would be ruined if they were left to the elements all winter, so a storage unit was a good solution.


Storage units! People rent storage units!


I have not invested in beautiful, expensive, outdoor furniture. I just have stuff – important to me but not valuable to anyone else. I cannot justify renting space to store it, but I know there are others who do and in a very roundabout way, my thoughts came back to people experiencing homelessness.


Why are we so accepting of unattractive garage facilities being built in abundance in our communities and so reluctant to build a structure in which people can live? We willingly pay to house things that don’t feel the cold, or get hungry or fall ill, but we choose not to donate to provide housing for people who have no home. People actively fight against having housing and shelters added to our communities or neighborhoods. What does that say about us as a society? 


Which is more important to you?

People who you don’t know or things that you do.


To Place an Order - Click Here
Click Here for Voter Information 

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and United Way 211

Team Up for Student Success

Students at any of Minnesota State’s 33 colleges and universities across the state have a new way to connect with on-campus and community-based services. Through an innovative partnership with United Way 211, students can text MNHELP to 898211 to find services that can help with issues like food, mental health and housing. This partnership supports students’ basic needs and their commitments to learning.


Volunteer Needs

Call if interested 651-388-6309

or email: mnelson@unitedwaygwp.org


You can spend money on new housing for poor people and the homeless, or you can spend it on a football stadium or a golf course."

Jello Biafra



I hope this blog helps us all to think and open our hearts and minds the next time we see someone in need or when that annual fund-raising appeal arrives in your mailbox.


Thanks for reading


Maureen Nelson

Make an Impact - GIVE to UNITED WAY

Click the box above to visit our donation page today. United Way GWP makes it easy for you to make a difference in the community and to have an impact on the lives around you. All but 1% of your gift is used locally to improve the health, education or basic needs of people in this community.  Thank you!