I keep trying to open with descriptive words to introduce you to the shoot in this blog post... but it is so hard to find the right ones. First of all, I will warn you that if you are offended by drug/alcohol paraphernalia you might want to skip out on this post.
As I have mentioned on the blog before, I do the shooting for the Salvation Army in downtown Raleigh. The images scrolling on the home page are from the first annual report that I shot. I love getting to help out such an amazing social ministry. I am always learning new ways that the Salvation Army serves those in Wake County. This assignment was much different than the others I had helped with. At times I felt like I was in a movie, or CSI tv show.
The Salvation Army was given a new, larger building to move into - it will be called The Center for Hope. The only downside is that is going to take quite a bit of renovation to get it ready. They have had this building for two years now. In the first year they had it, the staff decided to store the coats from their coat drive in the warehouse-esque second floor of the new building. The coats were sorted-men, women, and children- and then boxed up in separate piles to wait for distribution. One day the people came in to sort and found that one of the men's boxes had been open, a few coats were missing. Then they noticed that the children's coat boxes had been lined up to form a row of beds, with adult body imprints on top.
Homeless people had discovered a way into this abandoned building.
Since then the building has housed homeless people, particularly during the evening. Only a few people have been caught by the police, while there is evidence left behind during the day time that there are many more
Just in the past month, a few staff members had visited the building and were devastated to find toys and toddler sized shoes in one of the rooms a few inches away from heroine. Now there was proof that it was no longer just men using this building for shelter.
The people that need the Salvation Army have found the building long before the money has been completely raised, and are waiting. They are waiting for the amazing programs and resources that can change their lives, turn their lives in a different direction. Visit the Salvation Army website I have linked above to make a contribution to their Capitol Campaign so that those children and their families can get the help they need.
The staff is still trying to figure out what the circular piles of rocks mean.
The people that have been staying in the building have these in different sizes in the different office rooms. Maybe it has something to do with marking territory?
Sadly the people that have been sneaking into the building have slowly trashed the place.
They have stripped the place of copper and other metals.
There are holes in the ceiling to sneak in through,
allowing rain in to ruin carpets and create mold.
One of the coat collection boxes that I mentioned earlier in the post...
Shopping cart full of rocks and broken cement.
I learned that the substance in the aluminum foil is/was heroine...
and the irony is that it is sitting on top of a children's book entitled "Hippo Learns to Help"
It seems as though who ever has deemed themselves in charge of the night time colony has "their room" completely covered in rocks and other collected items. The floor was so completely covered that the door opened far enough to let a body slide through.
I am not going to lie-I was terrified when I stuck my camera in there that I would pull it back out and see someone looking at me from behind the door.
Thanks for hanging in there and reading all the text that goes along with this post. I was so ready to share this story with you. If you feel the pull to help contribute to the Capital Campaign to raise money to renovate this building please contact the Salvation Army.