Yesterday Ryan, Jon and I were all working to get OccupySupply packages out before the 4:30 UPS shipping deadline. This was a photo of the boxes waiting to be picked up that I tweeted last night, going to places like Occupy Colorado Springs, Occupy Austin, Occupy Houston, Occupy Iowa City and Occupy St. Louis among others.
But I awoke this morning to find that they still hadn’t been picked up.
Kevin Gosztola also called me from Portland, Maine this morning to tell me that the shipment of cold weather supplies for OccupyPortland that was supposed to be delivered by UPS yesterday and handed over at last night’s General Assembly meeting never arrived. So I called UPS, who could not locate the package in their system anywhere, and could not do anything about any of the 17 packages sitting there until Monday.
We had been shipping packages through the the US Postal Service, but the volume just became too much for us to deliver to the post office ourselves. So we chose UPS as a shipper, because the workers are unionized and they also allow us to do carbon offsets for each package they deliver. But losing the first package we ship, and then blowing off pickup of the next 17 for 3 days is not an auspicious start.
Kevin says it’s 30 degrees in Portland, and last night there was a General Assembly meeting after someone came into the camp in the middle of the night and started attacking people with a hammer. One of the homeless people spoke up and said “we have to hold this place, because if it goes, I’ll be sleeping in doorways again.” I don’t think people in the media really understand that these occupations are largely comprised of people who have fallen through the torn and overburdened social safety net, people from all walks of life who don’t have jobs or health care or any way to provide for themselves. We started OccupySupply because we realized that with cold weather on its way, there would be tremendous suffering all across the country.
We’re getting one report after another from local FDL Member liaisons on how critically supplies are needed. From OccupyLouisville, Patty C says “I was there when one of the hats and pair of socks was given to a homeless man who had been there since day one. He told me that it was the 1st pair of socks he’s worn for a long, long time.” At OccupyPittsburg, RFShunt said supplies were immediately taken to the medical tent and given to people who were suffering from exposure.
We really want to support UPS and unionized workers, but cold weather is setting in we need to get supplies out there as quickly as possible. This has now set us back a day, because we have to spend the day getting the boxes out through another shipper.
We just don’t have the staff to do this on a regular basis. So sadly we’re having to say goodbye to UPS, and hello to FedEx.
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