Lunches for the homeless, CA, USA


The Sisters at the Notre Dame Center, Thousand Oaks, prepared bagged lunches for the homeless.  The Sisters had received grocery gift cards at Christmas, which they included in each bag.  They also included a knitted hat.

On January 28, 2015, the bags were given to persons who were interviewed by volunteers who were taking a count of the homeless in Ventura County, where Thousand Oaks is located.  Federal funding is determined by the information received during the street interviews. The annual point-in-time survey tries to capture characteristics of every homeless person in Ventura County. The data is collected and sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The total determines how much funding the federal agency gives the county to help manage and, ideally, reduce the homeless population.

Many Mansions, an affordable housing agency which provides permanent, supportive housing, now considered a best practice in the field, has been leading the homeless count in Thousand Oaks since 2007. This year, 52 volunteers combed the streets from 5:30 a.m. and planned to keep going until 7 p.m. looking for homeless people behind supermarkets and in the corners of parking lots.

Sister Lisa McGaffin is on the board of Many Mansions.  As Sister Lisa commented, “All in all, it was a blessed opportunity to share God’s goodness—just through a caring conversation and a bagged lunch.  Sounds a bit like our shared sandwich story.”