Dear friend of Loaves & Fishes,
There’s no soft way to say this: Sacramento is a brutal place to be homeless in the summer. The temperature soars well past 100 degrees on day after day. Our guests walk long distances on hot pavements to get to shelters, to hidden nooks and crannies where they can bed down for the night, to doctor’s appointments or to Social Security and employment offices. For those who must live outside, there’s no respite from the soaring temperatures. Spirits flag and tempers erupt under the oppressive heat.
It is heartbreaking to see a mother with small children approach Loaves & Fishes, each with faces bright red from the heat and with the youngest listless in her stroller like a wilted flower. Before we can attend to their homeless situation, we must first address their immediate need to cool down and recover. It is not an overstatement to say that we provide survival services. Loaves & Fishes is literally an oasis for our guests. Drinking fountains and the canopy of trees in Friendship Park provide instant relief. Gallon upon gallon of donated water is distributed for use later in the day after Loaves & Fishes has closed. Donated sun block and mosquito repellent help make outdoor existence tolerable.
Each program does its part. Misters line the courtyard entrance to the Dining Room. Air conditioned Maryhouse gives women and children a refuge. Mustard Seed’s summer program gives harried parents an opportunity to take care of business, knowing that their children are safe and happy. The Library’s cool quietude provides solace to many of our most fragile (both mentally and physically) guests.
We need your help to keep our doors open through the summer. We are very, very worried because donations have been down so far this year. We know that we are all sobered by Sacramento’s continuing recession, but, on behalf of our guests, we beg you to help if you are in a position to do so.
Your generosity has always sustained us. We neither seek nor accept any government funding, but instead rely upon the “bank of faith,” your individual decision to help “the least amongst us.”
Your loving gift provides our guests with both physical and spiritual sustenance. It is a tangible reminder that the wider community has not forgotten them. We are inspired to recall John 4:14:
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Peace and Love
Loaves & Fishes
P.S. We are especially concerned by Maryhouse's increased need. Co-Directors Connie Frank and Cyndi Torres report that last year, 77 families with 152 children were actually sleeping outside or in their car. Sadly, they are seeing even more families in this dangerous situation this year.