I am the founder of MeetIRV.org, providing mobile showers, haircuts, 1,200 meals per day and soon the first mobile laundry service to the homeless. AMA!
It all started with one bold idea...
Just days after Christmas 2015, disaster struck the St. Louis, Missouri region. Record flooding destroyed entire communities, shut down interstates, caused massive power outages and more. In Eureka, southwest of St. Louis, firefighters and their boats were in high demand, accounting for dozens of rescues of people in their homes, businesses or vehicles. Television news footage showed at least one home there drifting in the swollen river, when firefighters rescued by boat a man and a dog as floodwaters lapped at the eaves of the house roof on which they’d been trapped all night.
We knew there was something we could do to bring a measure of comfort to those facing the loss of their homes, so as the flood waters receded, we worked through the night making modifications to our family RV, a 25' travel trailer. It was about 15º and we could not allow the water lines to freeze, so we insulated and heated them. We loaded up with thousands of pounds of supplies hastily collected from family and friends. As the new year rang in across the country, we were arriving in Eureka at the National Guard Post set up there.
The people that made up this hard-working community could do nothing but watch as Bobcats and loaders carried away what was left of their homes and the Christmas they celebrated in it only days before. The water was contaminated with E. Coli, salmonella, and more forcing residents to wear hazmat suits and forego attempting to save most possessions.
For days we remained, serving thousands of meals to residents and first responders while providing a warming center, internet access, charging stations, a restroom facility and more. We knew we were on to something good!
When we returned we knew we could use this same unique outreach to serve the homeless and other at-risk communities, and MeetIRV.org was born. Less than a month later we acquired IRV, a highly modified Class A vehicle capable of doing so much more!
Now we are working harder than ever to increase awareness about what we do and get folks to share us on their social media. At the urging of many of our university volunteers, I am doing this AMA!
Visit us at MeetIRV.org or gofundme.com/IRV2017 for more about our story, photos, social media links and more.
Thanks for reading...AMA!
Jerry Powell Founder, MeetIRV.org
My Proof: https://www.meetirv.org/
EDIT: I have received a few messages via our website asking if I am the same guy who was shot at while stopping a carjacking at the Target store in the South Loop. I am, but I did not see the relevance to this AMA so I did not include mention of it. For those asking here is a link to one story about it. I am very happy to say the offender has been arrested in Atlanta and charged with his horrendous crimes. Both women and the newborn baby are doing great! http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/crime/228314726-story
EDIT 2: We give you all our most sincere thanks for the great questions and taking the time to check us out! We appreciate it more than you know. If you are looking for a really fast way to help us out, hit up @joerogan on Twitter and help us get his attention. Also, please note that if you know someone in need of our services, you can request assistance on their behalf on our website listed above! Many thanks and much love, friends!
PS - Still on the AMA!