ABC7 Solutions: 'Wound Walk' program offers first aid to homeless in Orange County

Volunteers in Santa Ana are helping the homeless not only with basic supplies but with treating wounds so they don't develop infections and other health problems.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A small team of volunteers is stepping up to find a solution to help the homeless in Santa Ana.

Every week, the group suits up with personal protective equipment and loads their wagons with care packages, food and drinks, and medical supplies.

And while those supplies are always welcome, it is the wound care that is offered that brings the unsheltered out of hiding along the Santiago Creek River Bed.

Michael Sean Wright, who founded this program three years ago, calls it the "wound walk."

"It started very slowly, with a simple first aid kit and a baby bottle to wash the wounds," said Wright.

These days he has more help, but not much.

"I really didn't know what I was getting myself into, I was 'OK awesome, I'm going to be getting some kind of basic medical training' which I thought oh that's so great," said college student Luna Mendoza. "But it actually was the help that we offer that was the most rewarding for me and what made me want to keep coming back every week."

The trio have been hauling their wagons together since the pandemic shut down the efforts of other homeless outreach groups.

Equipped with water, saline solution, antiseptic and lots of Band-Aids... all donated from the community... enables the group to provide basic first aid for dozens of people who have no access to running water.

"For the unsheltered communities, public libraries and fast food restaurants are sometimes their only access to restrooms, and so when those close down, it's like the water turned off," said Wright. "If you're not getting water flowing or the wound covered or cleaned outside, you are exposed to insects, or further trauma that's coming and infections."

And when that happens, Wright urges them to seek medical attention.

"We have great clinics up and down here that folks don't know they can go to," said Wright. "So our opportunity is to intro and help them get that care."

It's a small solution to a monumental problem. Wright is hoping the donations of food and medical supplies will keep these wound walks going. For a list of what you can donate, go to woundwalk.org.

"That relief that we all feel at that moment of, like, OK I didn't solve everything but right now, for Bill or for Mary, they're going to sleep better than they have in a long time," said Wright.
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