“If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.” James 2. (Editor’s note – James assumes the needy have a home).
Dear Friends, June 2021
Our door bell rang. I answered. “Is Susan home?” It was Jason –one of our familiar homeless friends. I assumed he wanted a bike, or a tent or a sleeping bag. All of these things Susan is in charge of distributing. Susan arrived. After a brief exchange, Jason left. Susan came into the kitchen feeling ambiguous because Jason wanted to thank us by giving us part of his stimulus check. Susan was ambiguous because how do you accept $100 from someone who has nothing. The Widow’s mite indeed!
Our entire household helped with the City sponsored head count of people living in 20 homeless encampments within the borders of Redwood City. Jason lives in one of these. We counted 74 men and women barely surviving in unhealthy, unsafe, filthy, and dangerous camps. Their homes have nothing in common with what we call camping.
As the vaccinations take, as our society re-opens, as we all go back to “normal,” we fear that these sisters and brothers will be forgotten and their poverty declared illegal and their meager homes destroyed. Regardless, due to your generosity, grants from Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, and God’s grace, we will continue to share with them friendship, sleeping bags, tents, tarps, socks, t shirts, backpacks, bikes, camping stoves, black garbage bags, food, and free medical advice from our volunteers, Sharron and Sharon, both retired nurses.
Throughout this pandemic, each Friday we have also been sharing enormous amounts of free fresh produce with at risk families living in apartments. These families are on the brink of homelessness. Some of them receive stimulus money from us. There receive so much food that they need carts to help carry their groceries away. We buy carts to give them so they can manage—especially the elderly and those with small children. Your money is well spent here.
Visiting the homeless encampments is not only shocking but also depressing. Our society has plenty of money to upgrade nuclear weapons that will kill everything and everyone from San Jose to S.F. with one blast. Our society gives blank checks to the military to carry on wars that create poverty, homelessness, and refugees throughout the world. Relatively speaking, we spend a pittance on affordable housing. San Francisco set up a tent city with toilets, showers and services, and estimated the cost per tent for a year at $61,000. We can do better than that!! When we spend trillions for war and nuclear weapons we shouldn’t be surprised when there is not enough money for homes for all. Prior to Covid we had an epidemic of homelessness. That epidemic still rages and will be here after Covid is gone. The question is: Will we treat the homeless as the body of Christ or won’t we?
In case you are wondering, while the above is depressing, we find tremendous, tremendous hope when God and you (our supporters) shower us with all we have and make whatever we are and do possible. We can never thank you and God enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Love and gratitude,
Larry for all of us.
- Food in any amount. Especially, frozen lasagnas, burritos, bacon, etc. for our Wednesday & Thursday breakfast program.
- Household needs: large black plastic bags, cleanser, Simple Green, working lap top & desk top computers, a power washer, a very small electric stove (2 or 4 burner), grocery carts for the elderly to wheel away their food from our home, bikes, cars, trucks, & RV’s etc.
- Homeless needs: sleeping bags, tents, tarps, t shirts and the other items mentioned in this newsletter. For details, call Susan (650) 366-4415
- School needs: Backpacks filled with grammar school & high school supplies.
- Day Laborers: If you need a worker (man or woman) call (650) 339- 2794 (they are closed weekends.)
- We are in serious conversations about opening a new Catholic Worker House in Oregon. If you want to help us finance the purchase of a Catholic Worker, call Larry for a free cup of coffee. (650) 366-4415. If you earmark money for rent subsidies we will distribute it.
- Your ongoing love and support.