Via email from Hayes Holderness of Greensboro Burrito Bikers:
image credit: Hayes Holderness, Burrito Bikers
Another great morning [Saturday, 12/18/2010]. We served around 60+ people, but had plenty of food due to a number of new volunteers today. So great to see the spirit spread to others. I even had a couple of new guys bike with me (Larry and Andrew).
Don and Shawn and Sarah are very close to getting out of the woods and into housing as of January 1. Many people have helped donate to gifts for Shawn/Sarah’s boys. Lee showed up just for fellowship – didn’t want to take food because he’s inside and has a job, that he’s very proud of. Shorty said he got a settlement on his car lawsuit and plans to put the money to use to help other homeless. Other guys from Winter Emergency shelters showed up to have coffee but didn’t want to take burritos – the homeless look out for each other in this way. Most are very caring and are so appreciative of any caring extended their way…
We also had Christmas music this morning. I took an old boombox and made up some CD’s, both with traditional hymnals as well as popular cheery Christmas songs. People really liked it. A few were singing amonst themselves.
Finally, for those of you who don’t often visit our wiki page, and might think of joining us this Saturday morning, which is Christmas: We will NOT be at our regular spot. There are some churches getting together to sponsor a seated Christmas breakfast at the Methodist Church (302 W Market St) at 9:00 am Christmas morning. So we will take our burritos there and help serve and enjoy the Christmas spirit. Anyone is welcome, and you don’t need to bring anything. Come for as long or as short as you can stay – they expect the whole service, including breakfast, singing, and some gift giving will take a couple of hours.
We’ll be back at [the sidewalk outside Center City] park on New Year’s Day, at 8:00[am].
Merry Christmas to all.
Note: I deleted a paragraph about a gift a homeless man made as a surprise for someone. I hope to write about that one later, when I know it’s been delivered.
“Many summer food programs have been slashed during the recession leaving low-income children with fewer options, a report by the Food Research and Action Center said Tuesday.The budget cuts reduced participation in summer school food programs across the nation over the past years, the anti-hunger group said.This drop in participation comes at a time when more and more families need these food programs, the Center said. ‘When summer food participation needed to be rising, there instead was a dip of 2.5 percent — or 73,000 low-income children — from July 2008 to July 2009,’ the Center said in a statement… ‘While 17.5 million low-income children received school lunch during the 2008-2009 school year, only 2.8 million children got summer food when school was out,’ the Center said.That means only 16 percent of low-income students got the summer school meals in 2009.”
Homeless people often have everything they own in their backpacks. These backpacks were stashed near where some of my homeless friends were reading or using computers at the library yesterday afternoon.
From my on-the-street perspective, it certainly appears that hunger and homelessness are increasing in Greensboro.Â There are more and newer faces at free meal sites, homeless shelters and the downtown library, one of our de facto day centers.Â I went to Weaver House the other day looking for a homeless friend, and for the first time in years, I didn’t recognize a single face among the crowd of homeless people hanging out around the doorway and in the parking lot.
I’m hearing from homeless service providers that their numbers are up.Â There were problems with our county homeless count last year, resulting in an undercount, and I’m not depending on the next count for an accurate number, either.Â But my eyes tell me that there are more homeless and hungry people in town.Â And it’s apparently going to get worse before it gets better.Â