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Love In Action: Warming the Cold Nevada Nights

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What is  “Love in Action”? Well,  it’s a breathtakingly awesome thing! Especially when it’s a thing that takes one person’s discovery of people in need, combines it with a plan for action, heartfelt nationwide support, and helps people when they need it most. “Love” is Vermin Supreme’s middle name, after all.  One of the foundational, guiding principles of the Vermin Supreme Institute values voluntary mutual aid. Early this year, we facilitated a mutual aid project called Love In Action.

In November of 2020, The VSI was  contacted by a member of our volunteer network,  Chris, in Fallon, Nevada. He told us about the plight of migrant agricultural workers in the area, and other people who rely on the agricultural industry. Sub-freezing temperatures are not conducive to human life, and a lot of farm work is seasonal. So the Nevada winters are hard on a lot of people. Chris had done some coat donation and distribution drives in the past, and our collaboration with him quickly took shape as a similar endeavor. The wheels were set into motion.

Unfortunately, the pandemic (and a few unforeseen injuries among crucial VSI staff) delayed us until mid-January of 2021. By then, Chris had moved to Reno. Undaunted, we used our  extensive powers of RESEARCHING THINGS ON THE INTERNET to look up local demographics, human rights issues, and weather forecasts. We discovered a large number of un-homed people living near the Truckee River. The local business community appeared to be more than a little bit hostile toward these unfortunate souls, mostly propping up their gripes with accusations of litter near the encampments.

Based on that knowledge,  Chris Rogers, a hard-working luminary of VSI (as you can read here) hatched the final iteration of the Love in Action scheme. We would gather supplies to help people through the freezing winter in Reno, in a way that generated as little waste as possible: jackets, hats, scarves, sleeping bags, hand-warmers, socks, and drawstring bags. Long term, year round essentials for cold desert nights; and the means to survival through harsh conditions.

 Our phenomenal supporters showed love, and took action. In less than two weeks’ time, our nationwide fundraiser collected more than $2,000, with an additional $1,500 in matching funds. That’s pretty cool. That’s the kind of  every day miracle that happens, when people care enough to help.

The items were ordered online, shipped to Texas,  then sorted and packaged by VSI. And even if you live under a rock, you probably know about the nearly-unprecedented weather that recently befell Texas. Because of this,  we weren’t able to get everything on a train to Reno right away. But once the supplies were delivered, the distribution date was officially set for March 6th,  and everything went swimmingly! Roughly 75 un-homed individuals received  full sets of winter survival gear that day. At the time of this writing, the remainder was slated to be handed out at the Fallon Soup Kitchen on March 16.

Gotta love a story with a happy ending! While love may occasionally be delayed due to inclement weather (or other uncontrollable patterns sporadically coalescing within a universe ruled by the blind and amoral force of causality) it definitely makes all the other things easier to put up with. That’s love in action. That’s what we’re all here for.

If you’ve got a mutual aid project to signal-boost, spotlight, or coordinate, please reach out to us here!

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