by Vernon Andrews
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] have been homeless a few times over the past twenty years. I know people who use the drop-in centers, soup kitchens, and agencies for poor people. It’s important to have places to eat.
Churches have been helping poor people for a long time. They provide nutritional food which enables people to live and have hope.
I go for a meal on Wednesdays at a church on Idaho Street in Berkeley. The people who run the meals at this church go beyond serving food; they care for the lives of the people they serve. On Father’s Day, the church added festivities to recognize fathers. The celebration felt spirit-lifting.
On Thursdays, I eat at another church in Berkeley on Fairview Street. At least 100 people come during the hour that food is served. The staff at the church have a passion for people. They serve meals on a regular basis without pay. They wouldn’t show up unless they cared. Inside the church, people from all races come to eat. A balanced meal is served and fresh vegetables are available to take home.
Some people are mentally challenged and have dual disorders. Some would perish if they didn’t have people helping them. They are people with needs. People who need social services are worthy of being recognized.
Some homeless people recycle. They put a lot of effort into collecting bottles and cans. They walk and travel a lot of ground. They are not lazy. I admire them.
The people I’ve known when homeless honor our relationship as friends. They have good spirits and are cordial. They always have time to say “Hi” and to ask, “What’s going on with you?”
They want to know how you are. It is meaningful that we communicate. One man I’ve known for over 20 years always speaks to me. His caring spirit uplifts me.
People I’ve known show me kindness. This contrasts with when I’ve been treated heartlessly and judged as less than. I care about these people. Some people are able to live independently. Some may speak slower, but know what they want to say. They are more honest than a whole lot of people I know. They are genuine, good people, caring and loving.