October 2013 Newsletter

One of our guests enjoying a special meal donated by local food trucks.

Dear friend of Loaves & Fishes,

Richard walked over to a few of us with his hand extended and announced in a booming voice, “I would like to shake your hands. I have quit drinking and drugging and now after 30 years I have stopped smoking. I owe it all to Loaves & Fishes. Thank You! When I get up each morning, I gulp down the fresh air. I feel great! I’m a new man.” We shook his hand and said, “You’re very welcome, Richard.”

Later we talked about Richard’s heartfelt greeting and his warm handshake of appreciation. What a change a year makes. He had a steady job, a place to live and had purchased a used Jeep - all the result of becoming sober and becoming clean. And now he’s even shaken off 30 years of smoking. We wondered aloud how many of us could make such a complete change in our lives, and weren’t too sure we could do it ourselves.

Richard is a small example of someone who had the courage to admit his mistakes and move on.

Sadly, some, like Clare, don’t have that capability. Clare’s age is difficult to figure out because sometimes she looks even younger than what we guess - early fifties. As usual she is dressed for winter weather even though it is in the 90’s; but stylishly so, though her choice of fashion is quite dated. We have never seen her hatless. All of her possessions are neatly folded and arranged in her two wheel upright cart, indicating to us that she was not always in such desperate straits.

Clare has been a guest of ours at Loaves & Fishes for several years and represents many of our female guests. They find themselves living part time on the streets, part time in emergency shelters and sometimes in single room occupancy hotels. They come to Loaves & Fishes to have a safe place “to be” away from the dangers of the streets, to eat a good hot meal daily, to use our bathrooms and showers to keep clean, and especially to have a caring staff person listen to them.

Despite our best efforts and nudges, Clare and the others like her often seem absolutely incapable of accepting mental health care, that, to our way of thinking, would make their lives easier or at least help them to cope better.

One of our guests enjoying the music during a special event at Loaves & Fishes.

We attempt to understand our guests by listening to their stories, not judging them. When we are successful we build relationships with them based on understanding and we can form a partnership that opens hearts and doors. Based on these positive relationships many of our guests eventually seek and receive the help they need to leave the streets.

We are sometimes criticized for welcoming and assisting people who are considered “not worthy or deserving” of help. Dehumanizing labels are used to describe our guests. You’ve heard them we’re sure, “lazy bums, winos, transients, crazies”. These characterizations are destructive because they suggest people are less than human and beyond redemption.

We believe that all people should have safe, welcoming, and easy access to basic human services. We’re dedicated to making that happen by accepting everyone to our programs in a spirit of welcome, hospitality, safety, and cleanliness.

Loaves & Fishes has served countless poor and vulnerable men, women and children in our community. And it’s only possible with the support of people like you.

Please make a donation today and ensure that people like Richard and Clare have the help they need.

Peace & Love,
Loaves & Fishes

P.S. It’s been a lean summer financially and your immediate donation is essential as we prepare for the overwhelming need of the coming cold and rainy season. Click Here To Donate.

   

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Street Address:
1351 North C. St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

PO Box 13495
Sacramento, CA 95813

Phone: 916-446-0874
Fax: 916-446-0875

Email: info@sacloaves.org

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