As a great man once said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” I have oft sat in a pew and heard about this. Its more fun to just do it.
Fred's Blog: Encouraging help for helping homeless folks:
I write this blog not to flaunt dogooderism, but rather to encourage and assist your participation in helping homeless folks. I was encouraged by a friend to begin delivering lunches and sandwiches to people trying to survive in tents on the street. So, I dedicate my efforts to Colleen’s father who was homeless on the streets of Denver for five years.
In volunteerism throughout my life I have always lost patience with meetings and committees. And with all due respect, organization award banquets with lavish meals, cocktails, and people in suits and evening gowns accepting plaques for their good work for homeless causes, seem very oddly out of step.
It is almost comical as it is tragically ironic to me, if you ever played Monopoly or shopped boutiques in Manhattan, New York, that in Denver I deliver most lunches on “Park Avenue” amid the Coors Field stadium goers, pricey condos, bars and shops. More than half of these folks in tents say, “God Bless You” as they accept a lunch. It makes me wonder how people living in such desperation even retain their faith in God to ask a blessing on me. In summer they climb out of tents on sidewalks in ninety to a hundred degree heat. These are ovens under those tarps that our fellow citizens try to endure. In winter they are trying not to freeze. One winter day in Boulder a man asked, “May I have another for my neighbor?” He gestured to a pup tent half collapsed by the snow and wind and said, “The police took her to the hospital with frostbite, but she’ll be back this evening.”
A system for making sandwiches quickly in the kitchen, and an assembly of the bags with drink and additions in the dining room. All perishables are handled carefully -refrigerated or frozen- and with sanitary protocols. Carry a cooler of water bottles, especially in the summer.
Interested? I am looking for a partner or the opportunity to advise and assist if you want to do your own project. The need is endless. By myself, I get to Costco, find a day to make sandwiches, and drive to Denver to hand them out about once a week or every ten days or so. People need food every day, and the tent camps are growing throughout all cities.
I have a system for preparing the lunches. Ingredients and supplies are from Costco and Dollar Store. I advise a look online of recommendations for how to prepare meals for homeless folk. For example, nuts, candy, and other hard foods are not recommended; dental health may not be up to par, and we do not want to cause a broken tooth. A lunch, packed in a gallon zip lock baggie includes a generous roast beef and cheddar sandwich (sometimes ham is substituted) in its own sandwich ziplock; a granola bar; a packet of chips; and a bottled health drink. This comes together for just over $3 per lunch. In winter, perhaps a cap, some gloves, socks or sundries are added from the Dollar Store.
Our fellow souls living under tumble-down tents and tarps in all extremes of weather are not out panhandling for money trying to get a free ride. They cannot be overlooked or dismissed as “lazy,” or “addicts,” or “just mentally ill.” They are at the end of the human rope; in severe survival mode. No one would ever choose to exist this way. “There but for the Grace of God . . .” as the saying goes. It is not for me to understand or question why these tent camps grow each week or why so many are there.
<<Click to hear my theme song about this: "On the Turning Away."
a lunch bag to a man on the curb who had no legs. Literally, there was a man laying on the curb on Park Avenue in Denver with only stubs on his body, naked from the waist up. The lad took the bag and gave it to the man, then he returned to my window for his own lunch. It had been my last lunch and I was all out. I am still haunted by the grey, shallow, desperate look in that young man’s eyes when I had to explain I had no more. He stood there staring in to my soul. I could only drive slowly away.
In far less than half the time it takes to attend an organization or city government meeting to discuss how we might feed homeless people, I can make a hundred hearty sandwiches, pack them in lunch bags, and deliver them to the streets. While I would urge contributions to service organizations: https://denverrescuemission.org ; https://www.coloradocoalition.org ; to name a couple, along with your church and civic groups working on the issue, still, nothing is as satisfying as going direct to our fellow human beings in need. It is far more life changing to go among them, than tossing a check in the mail or the plate.
We must be careful pulling up to groups on the sidewalk, because the need always far outstrips the supply of lunches I prepare and carry in the car. One day in Denver, a young man, obviously undone by drugs or something beyond his control, came to my window a second time. I asked him if he would hand
One day, on Park Avenue in Denver, I was pulling the truck over to hand lunches out at tents. (I yell, “Anyone want a lunch? I have roast beef sandwiches.”) A large white luxury SUV pulled over in front of me, blocking my movement. I was startled, wondering if it would be someone complaining that I was “encouraging them.” Instead, a man walked up and tossed a substantial amount of cash in my window. He said, “I want to help what you’re doing!” He ran back to his car. I admit, I had to sit there idling at the curb for a few moments, gathering my emotions.
Please reach out if you would like to join this wonderfully rewarding effort. I don’t have a charity; its an individual effort. I only wish to network with interested others. Return to my homepage here for my contact information: