St. Christopher Parish - Brown Bag Lunch & Hygiene Kit

This Lent, we . . .

Pray, Fast, Serve

Parish-Wide Service Project Results

Weekend of April 6th and 7th

After learning about the reality of hunger in our community, the people of people of Saint Christopher Parish responded wonderfully, as you always do.  Thanks to all of you, we were able to make 858 sandwiches from 78 loaves of bread and assemble 200 hygiene kits.  Our service project won’t end hunger, but as Saint Teresa of Kolkata said, we can still "do small things with great love."

Works of mercy like this not only touch the lives of those we serve, they touch our lives as well.  We become more aware of the need and energized in serving others.  There are many needs and many opportunities to serve our neighbor and we will keep finding ways of involving our Parish members in carrying the Gospel message into our community.

Many thanks to all who made sandwiches and hygiene kits, to all who prayed for those in need, to all the school children who decorated the lunch bags, to all the confirmation students who served as table hosts, and to all who helped set up, clean up, and make the service project run smoothly.  Our special thanks to Loaves & Kitchen Family Kitchen, without whom we would not have been to serve our neighbor so well.  https://www.loavesfishes.org/.

Affordable Housing and Hunger – Inextricably Linked, and Creating an Environment of Extreme Need  

 It’s a case of one element creating an inordinate amount of pressure on its related parts.  We live in a region where – for those who can afford it - the cost of housing easily consumes more than 65% of people’s income (Univ. of Santa Cruz Study, 12/2018), leaving little left over for those other, equally important matters that are a part of our lives such as food, medicine, and utilities…things that can never be considered luxuries. 

720,000 of our neighbors in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties  go to bed each night not knowing where their next meal is coming from.  1 in 3 of those we serve meals to are children .

720,000 of our neighbors in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties go to bed each night not knowing where their next meal is coming from. 1 in 3 of those we serve meals to are children.

In Silicon Valley - one of the richest regions in America - families, children, seniors, veterans and students must deal with hunger and homelessness every day throughout our communities. 720,000 of our neighbors in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties go to bed each night not knowing where their next meal is coming from.  Here at Loaves and Fishes, we reached an unhappy milestone last year:  we served over half a million meals to the most vulnerable in our communities through our 3 meal service sites and 55 partner organizations where we deliver hot nutritious meals five days a week.  Of particular concern is the fact that 1 in 3 of those we serve meals to are children. For children at every age, food is fuel, and they cannot properly learn if their nutritional needs are not met.

Since the passage of bond Measure A in 2016, which will provide $950 million dollars to create or preserve affordable housing in Santa Clara County, a much-needed spotlight has been focused on the issue of affordable housing in Silicon Valley. 

Joining the movement to increase affordable housing stock is a $50 million dollar commitment from Cisco, $100 million recently allocated by the City of San Jose and $67 million in affordable housing funds that have been provided by San Mateo County’s Affordable Housing Fund since their inception.  These funds will provide much-needed affordable housing for extremely-low, very-low and homeless populations, including families, individuals, seniors and veterans.  No one applauds these efforts more than we do.  We see the effects of a lack of affordable housing every day on the guests we serve.

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Here’s the dilemma -  the affordable housing units to be funded from these sources will not come online for occupancy for 3 – 10 years.  Most still have multiple rounds of loan, permit and environmental impact approvals to go through.  These desperately needed units will provide welcome relief to the homeless and hungry who cite a lack of affordable housing as the number one contributing factor to their current situation.  The problem is, this progress does not help address the situation and circumstances faced by the homeless and hungry today

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Folks who come to us for hot nutritious meals – for the majority the only meal they will have that day - do not have a “pause button” to hit on their hunger or their need to obtain food for their family.  People cannot wait because hunger won’t wait. Hunger marches on its own timeline, and for our most vulnerable neighbors in need that timeline started yesterday, continues each and every day, and will not end until there is equity at all levels of our society. 

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We must make meeting the needs of the hungry and homeless a part of our current and long-term conversations around housing.  They are inextricably linked – if you cannot afford current housing prices, you become homeless, and if you are spending most what precious little funds you may have coming in on housing, you don’t have enough to meet your other needs.  In the end, the result is the same – people are hungry, and we have a moral obligation, in the richest country in the world, to ensure that no one - adult, child, senior, veteran or disabled – be forced to choose between shelter and sustenance.  We are better than this.  We must be better than this.

Contributed by Gisela B. Bushey, Chief Executive Officer, Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen

Silicon Valley Partner of the Month - February

Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen

Many families ask us about volunteer opportunities where their kids can serve clients directly and experience the gift of a smile or “thank you” in return. Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen is one of those places!

Families with children over 10 can help with every aspect of food service; from preparation, serving the meal, pouring drinks, and helping with clean up after service. Volunteers interact directly with guests which includes families, children, seniors, veterans, and the homeless (all opportunities detailed below).

Did you know?

  • 1 in 4 children in the Bay Area are hungry; the national average is 1 in 6.

  • In Silicon Valley, a family making $117,000 is considered “low income.” The people served by Loaves and Fishes earn an average of $20,000 per year.

The mission of Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen is to provide hot nutritious meals that are prepared, delivered and served to low-income families, disadvantaged individuals with a special concern for children, families, seniors, veterans, students, disabled, and those experiencing homelessness.

With the goal of being an inclusive organization, Loaves & Fishes welcomes volunteers and guests of all ages. Because they serve children and families, a friendly face from a peer makes the guests feel more comfortable during service.

Contributed by Anne Santos, Community Relations Coordinator, in association with ‘Doing Good Together’.