Dear friend of Loaves & Fishes,
Anika and her three children spent the last three nights sleeping in their car. All of their belongings and the little bit of food they had were packed into her small Honda coupe. Calling it cramped would be an understatement. She parked wherever felt the safest.
Not long before, Anika had a home and a job, but was laid off. Without a steady income she quickly fell behind on her bills and was evicted. Some friends let her stay with them for a few weeks and even helped split the cost of a motel after that. Still, without a job, even the shared cost of a motel was too much.
When she arrived at our door she had her 4 year old son with her. He was wiggly and full of energy, but clung to his mother. Her two daughters, age 9 and 11, were in school. Anika now had a full time job, hired just two weeks earlier. She was trying to save enough money for a deposit to get into an apartment. She estimated it would take over a month to save enough. A month of looking for emergency shelter and sleeping wherever felt safest.
Anika held a strikingly positive attitude despite her disheartening situation. She had an inner strength to keep moving forward and, often, even laugh about the circumstances. She was most concerned about her children, keeping them in school, and not being able to cook healthy food for them.
Fortunately, Anika came to us. Through your support we have been able to set aside a little bit of money to help families in emergencies such as this. We were able to secure a motel room for Anika and her children, so they didn’t have to sleep in their car anymore, provide her with some basic hygiene items, and connect her with the appropriate resources to help her get back on her feet.
Helping families like Anika’s one by one is what we do at Loaves & Fishes, with your help. It is important work because every family, every child is precious and the impact of homelessness, of actually living in a car! on a child is tremendously harmful. Research gathered by the National Center on Homeless Families tells us that “Children experience high rates of chronic and acute health problems while homeless. The constant barrage of stressful and traumatic experiences also has profound effects on their development and ability to learn.” Stabilizing a family’s situation and helping them move back into a simple apartment of their own as quickly as possible is our focus.
We also actively support sensible public policies that prevent and address homelessness. Our Philosophy Statement reminds us that “We are called not only to respond to the material and spiritual needs of the individuals who turn to Loaves & Fishes, but also to advocate with them and for them. We call upon the community to be aware of its responsibility in both the causes and solutions of hunger and homelessness, the absence of basic health care, unemployment, and attitudes which rob our sisters and brothers of dignity, self-respect and self-confidence.”
We invite you, our supporters and donors, to sign up for Loaves & Fishes e-mail Advocacy Group on our website: www.sacloaves.org/advocacy You will periodically receive information about issues related to homelessness and links to contact the elected officials, usually members of the Board of Supervisors or the City Council, in a position to make decisions that will benefit our guests. We know that our combined voice is powerful and that, with your help, we can create a community with space, justice and a home for everyone, including “my least brothers and sisters.”
Loaves & Fishes