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January 4, 2013     Cape Gazette
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44 FRIDAY, JANUARY 4 - MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2013 Cape Life Cape Gazette VIA delves into endeavors to help Cape Region homeless Group works in conjunction with West Rehoboth Land Trust By Betty Fleming Special to the Cape Gazette A highly regarded Cape Re- gion organization, the Village Improvement Association, has taken on an additional task, that of joining the local mission of helping homeless people, singles and family units to fend housing. It's a challenging task, but things are coming together, and help is now being seen through the ef- forts of a combination of local service groups, organizations and churches. "OUR WHOLE ORGANIZATION IS NOW ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF THE HOMELESS IN VARIOUS WAYS." - CAROLYN BILLINGSLEY VIA PRESIDENT Carolyn Billingsley, VIA presi- dent, said, "We were given infor- mation on the homeless in this area and schools that shocked us. After checking things out with the Community Resource Cen- ter, we decided to sponsor a homeless family through them and allocate outreach funding to this cause. Our whole organiza- tion is now addressing the needs Of the homeless in various ways." F& more information, call )) Community. Resource Center: .... 302-227-1340 Housing First is the name giv- en to the overall effort by the CRC to help the homeless. Six local churches are in- volved, including All Saints' Episcopal Parish, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Epworth UM Church, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Groome UM Church and Lewes Presbyterian Church. The New Life Thrift Shop in Re- hoboth Beach is providing much of the funding needed through the Lewes-Rehoboth Association of Churches. Winnie Oggenfuss and Bar- bara Blades are two of the VIA members taking hands-on parts in this effort. They have volunteered know- ing that this will be challenging work. Oggenfuss is the chair of the VIKs response to the Hous- ing First ministry. Blades is the lead mentor to one of two new homeowners soon to be renting in West Rehoboth. Both women are committed to this work. There are other men- tors, as well, for other locations, as the needs arise. The VIA is working Closely with volunteers Beth Doty and ELAYNE CANNAROZZI PHOTO BARBARA BLADES, left, lead mentor for the family that VIA has adopted through the Housing First effort, and Winnie Oggenfuss, VIA co-chair of the'Housing First effort, examine some paperwork. Not pictured is Carole Suchanek, VIA co-chair of the Housing First effort. Wally Johnson from the CRC who now work with the West Rehoboth Land Trust to provide funding through grants to fi- nance the construction of new rental homes for homeless fami- lies in West Rehoboth. Oggenfuss moved to New Cas- tle County from Massachusetts in 1962. She worked at Wilming- ton Trust bank as a secretary. She and her husband built a home in Lewes in 1992 and moved here full time in 1998. She is a volun- teer at Co nley's UM Church in Lewes, where she is active in the church thrift shop and Wednes- day soup kitchen. She is also an active CRC vol- unteer. Helping those who are homeless or in need has long been an interest of hers. A close family member had need for help of this kind at one point, and Oggenfuss knows something about what the needs are. Blades retired after 43 years in administrative nursing in 2003. She and her husband moved to Lewes that year. She has a special interest in helping the homeless and needy, and she joined the VIA in 2008. Of her work with the homeless, Blades said, "I con- sider this work m be one of the major things I do." Many VIA members are in- volved with this work, contribut- ing household equipment, fur- nishings and other needs. To contribute to the work with the homeless that is now being coordinated in the local area, send contributions made out to Community Resource Center to Wally Johnson, CRC, 37510 Oys- ter House Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. For more infor- mation or to discuss needs or op- portunities to serve, contact the CRC at 302-227-1340. Pets are an essential part of the holiday season hew! Most of us are glad the end- of-the-year holi- days are over and we can get back to our normal routine, a routine that includes hours of attempting to open products we've received which are encased in plastic. If you thought those pesky little pack- ing peanuts were annoying, you haven't tried to pry open a pack- age of insoles. This plastic has the consisten- cy of a type of cement that is mainly used by the Mafia for stuff like cement shoes, People .have osed their teeth, often re- quiring tooth implants the fol- lowing week; they've used scis- sors, stabbing over and over again like the shower scene in the movie "Psycho" and finally taken axes to a package contain- ing two AA batteries. I recently found out that the secret to opening these difficult plastic containers is to just give them to the dog. Any animal can shred this stuff open in a matter of seconds. In fact, the only way I could get safely from the car to the back door on a visit over the hol- idays was to throw the grand- . dogs two plastic water bottles. They pounced on them like a found winning lottery ticket. Once their attention was divert- ed, I made a break for it. I only have a few seconds to act, Since the average attention span of this particular golden retriever and black lab is that of a 2- month old-infant. It's not that these dogs are dangerous, it's just they greet you as if you have just come back from a deployment to Iraq and they haven't seen you in over a year. They come running like thousands of fleeing Japan- ese in a Godzilla movie, then stop, remember why they are running, realize you are there and proceed to throw their paws around you, carrying on as if they have just been paroled from Sing Sing. WE KNOW THAT ANIMALS ARE A BIG PART OF OUR LIVES, ESPECIALLY DURING THE HOLIDAYS, WHERE CLOTHING FOR DOGS AND CATS HAS BECOME A BILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESS. The good thing is, we live in a country where your health in- surance will cover dog greeting injuries 100 percent. And most of the medical equipment, in- cluding crutches and walkers, is complimentary upon your re- lease from the hospital. We know that animals are a big part of our lives, especially during the holidays, where clothing for dogs and cats has become a billion-dollar business. We care about them, and more importantly, want their approval, I took the granddogs on a walk in the park while I was visiting. The sun had just descended be- hind the trees and the path was dim with a nice dusky glow. Yet I found myself wondering why I was leading two enormous dogs with reindeer tiaras on their heads. I really couldn't comment on them, since we passed a car on the way over with reindeer antlers sticking out from the side windows, I guess what is good for the goose is good for the gan- der, and I have no idea what that means either. But dogs don't re- ally care what you think of their attire. As long as there is a scent in the air, you could put them in an apron and chef's hat; it wouldn't matter. On many an occasion, I've turned my back and found wrap- pers from cookies, butter sticks, bread, birth control pills and the occasional Christmas gift on the floor. As long as it will fit in their mouths, it's fair game. They fig- ure after you've let them in and out of the slid.ing patio door for the hundredth time, you won't care either. And if you catch them in the act, say, eating an eye of round cut of roast you've just paid $10 a pound for, the dog will get that expression on his face,that says, "What? Are you looking at me?" Yes, we have to have our ani- mals during the holidays; they are great fun for a family and comfort for those alone, and they can open all the packages for you, since your hands will be curled into claws after they are pried loose from the steering wheel of your car where you been circling the last month looking for a parking space. So keep those pets warm and safe this winter.