August Newsletter

It is people who are important, not the masses. -Dorothy Day

Dear Friend and Supporter of Loaves & Fishes,

To say it gets hot in Sacramento would be an understatement. Most of us have the luxury of an air conditioned home, office, or car; somewhere we can escape the exhausting heat and cool our foreheads. Some of us aren’t so lucky. When you’re homeless you don’t have air conditioning, you seek whatever relief you can. A shady tree, a quiet spot by the river, the library if your clothes aren’t too dirty from sleeping outside.

Most people who are homeless have to walk wherever they go and they carry all of their possessions - sleeping bag, pillow, tent, some personal items - on their backs in a backpack. If they are lucky enough to have a tent by the river it’s a half mile walk to Loaves & Fishes for lunch, a one and a half mile walk downtown to the library and another half mile to the veterans affairs office - then two miles back to the river. Four miles isn’t too bad of a walk on its own, but imagine it while carrying a 30 pound backpack in triple digit heat!

Homeless Boy

When our day services close, everyone leaves in search of somewhere safe to sleep for the night. If they are lucky they may have a bed waiting at one of the local overnight shelters. If not then they head towards the river or any sheltered spot they can find. Sleeping is hard outside, you’re open to the weather, insects, and predators. Many of our homeless guests will stick together at night for safety, but it’s still hard to sleep knowing you have no door to lock.

If you are homeless it’s hard to avoid waiting in long lines. We’ve all seen pictures of the stereotypical soup kitchen lines winding down the street. We don’t like long lines; they’re impersonal and tend to make you cranky. So, one of our earliest ideas was to create a comfortable waiting area for those waiting for an open seat in the Dining Room. We call this Brother Martin’s Courtyard. It’s a shaded courtyard with potted plants and jasmine trailing a covered veranda with a soothing water fountain in the middle. During the hot summer we also turn on the misters.

There is nothing like cool water to help alleviate the stress of a hot day. You may have grown up in a community where the firefighters would open up a hydrant for the children to run through and play. If so you have experienced both the soothing strength of water and the compassion of a firefighter.

Shopping Cart 14

While we don’t have a hydrant to run through, here at Loaves & Fishes, we do have some incredible firefighters at Engine 14. Engine 14 is unofficially known as the “Homeless Firefighters” because they are located right next door to Loaves & Fishes and are always the first to respond to any emergency.

They have a tough job. Not only do they risk their lives to put out fires but they also are on the scene first for medical emergencies. On top of risking their lives they must also deal with all the complexities of homelessness - and they do it with a healthy dose of compassion and concern. In fact their slogan is “We Make House-calls To the Homeless”.

Heat stroke is a major concern in the summer. Without the ability to cool down and most traveling done on foot many people who are homeless are at risk. We try to do everything we can to help keep people cool - shade trees, air conditioned day shelter, an ice machine for anyone who wants ice, and bottled water.

As the heat builds up water becomes more in demand. We do our best to make sure no one goes thirsty, but sometimes we run out of bottled water. And our homeless guests are left to fend for themselves. You can help. Bring a bottle or case of water to our warehouse or send a donation and we will do the shopping.

Love & Peace,
The Loaves & Fishes Community
P.O. Box 2161
Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone:(916) 446-0874
www.sacloaves.org

P.S. Thank you for your help. Your gift of any amount will ensure that no guest leaves Loaves & Fishes thirsty.

   

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Contact Us

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

PO Box 13495
Sacramento, CA 95813

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

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