The picture is of our ever-growing and passionate students from Bread of Life and Westmont College! I am looking to mentor more Westmont students in 2017 and this team is a primary focus for me!
In the midst of our vision growing for our Alameda Park Meal Sharing – there have been new challenges arising in 2016/2017. We managed for years to run a grass root meal sharing which grew into a collaborative for the holistic welfare of our friends without homes – but now there are hoops to jump through.
We have had various meetings with members of the Parks and Recreation and Public Health. They have historically been seeking ways to move our meal sharings out of public parks – but we have held that these dinners in public spaces need to remain easily accessible for those who are experiencing homelessness.
We are now working very closely with stakeholders and Parks and Recreation to walk through necessary steps to keep these meals going while also following procedures set in place and following public health standards. Not necessarily exciting stuff for me to explain to you in a newsletter but we need your support so our programs can be sustained. I believe that we are finding a shared path here – and that by working together these meals can be continued in good favor with everyone.
I have learned over time that to solve homelessness you have to work with everyone – listen, learn, and adjust. The city is a key partner for us – and if we ultimately want to change systems so more people can receive the assistance they need then we have to be willing to do what is necessary to create win-wins.
Ultimately, I am very excited about the passion and leadership of the Westmont Bread of Life team. My heart is to mentor them more in caring for the city and help develop leaders who will join in this work in the city long term. SBACT has always had a great relationship with Westmont College and it is growing and I love it! My main purpose at the park is to equip, train, and debrief the Bread of Life team.
We are also gradually moving toward an empowerment model - we did our first survey with street friends in January and are now following up with those who did the survey to engage them in leadership at the park. I will fill you in on how we are doing this in future newsletters.
Thanks so much for your support – it keeps us all going!