Julie Rhoades, a waitress by occupation and a spirited activist by soul, decides to take the midnight to 2 a.m. shift.
"We are bearing witness and making sure police don't come and arrest people here as they've been threatening on and off," she explains under a cold nighttime drizzle.
From the River to a High School to a Park
Here at a park in Sparks, NV, Rhoades and other activists are helping homeless previously living in tents along the Truckee river who were told to move because of the possible floods.
After some spent one night for relief at Wooster High, which included healthy food, clean beds and even crates for their pets, they were told that was a one-night deal only. So some have reassembled here, some under pagodas, some in tents in different parts of the park. Some want to go back to their river encampments, while others are still nervous about raging waters.
"Homeless people have been re-made homeless," Rhoades said. "It's super traumatizing. The more you're involved, the more you have to have empathy. I don't want to have dinner with fancy people. I'm interested in this."
Volunteers brought healthy food and warm drinks. Even a casino chipped in with sandwiches. Rhoades coordinated the potluck event, called People's Potluck, which then stretched into Tuesday.
Not Them, Us
"I am a waitress," Rhoades said. "I serve people. That's what I do. I was thinking of that while cooking soup. I've been moving people to and from the river for the last couple of days."
She explains the people she is helping shouldn't be referred to as "them", but as "us."
"There's one woman who is living here with her son and they have family problems too."
Solidarity, Not Charity
"We're building a community," Rhoades explained, as more and more people arrived bringing food, and being updated on plans to stay the night and organize in shifts.
"This is solidarity, not charity. It's us helping us."
If someone has a feeling they should help, Rhoades encourages them to do so. "It can change you in a good way," she said. "Every friend I've had I have met through the helping community."