You might remember fondly the opening lines of “Cannery Row," by Salinas’ favorite literary son, John Steinbeck:
“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps…”
Though there are similarities, there are important differences between the romanticized memory of Cannery Row and the current reality in Chinatown, where hundreds of people are living in tents on the street.
There is a lot of trash.
We want to eliminate the trash on the street to keep people safe, healthy, and to allow people to breathe clean, unfouled air. It isn’t fair that they sleep on wet, bug and rodent-infested mattresses and furniture. We don’t want people to have to live surrounded by trash where it’s impossible to maintain a positive attitude.
It may be tempting to believe that dropping off an old mattress is somehow helping someone. However, unless the person receiving the mattress will be able to sleep safely and hygienically on it, the gift causes a problem. Skin infections are a primary source of misery here.
Though well-intentioned, clothing, food, and furniture are often abandoned and left to decompose in piles around the tents and cars in our neighborhood.
Please do not drop off clothing, food, or furniture without being certain that it will be worn, eaten, or used appropriately. So, it doesn’t become trash.
As a community we have a responsibility to put trash where it belongs — at the dump. There are very good public and private trash collection services that regularly pick up trash in our neighborhood.
The entire Chinatown community also participates in trash collection. “Chinatown Proud,” the Chinatown Beautification Project, is unsheltered residents, property owners, the Downtown Streets Team and the Salinas Downtown Community Board all working together to keep trash to a minimum. We encourage our neighbors to keep the streets clean.
I do not want people to stop caring. I don’t want people to stop offering donations — we depend on them. I am asking our community to make donations thoughtfully and safely.
If you have a donation — before leaving it on the street — please contact Dorothy’s Place: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monetary donations are gratefully accepted. Please click on the link below to learn more. Thank you!
With love, respect and compassion, Dorothy’s Place provides essential services, transitional support and housing assistance to people experiencing the injustice of homelessness and extreme poverty.
Without your financial support, our work doesn’t happen. Join us! Stand with us as we assist people from street life to home life. Your solidarity is humbly and gratefully received.