San Francisco, in many ways, is the envy of the world. It has a lot going for it. Natural beauty, industry leading companies, great sports teams, and a social and political culture all its own. There is one area, sadly, the City has continually struggled with. Homelessness is a major and visible concern. It is an issue that seems to be on every politician's agenda yet only seems to be getting worse.
The solution to homelessness doesn't lie with one person, department or community. It is not a rich or poor problem; an us vs. them. The solution to homelessness requires a collective effort. To that end, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, of which St. John Armenian Church is a member, works diligently to develop resources and responses to the San Francisco's homelessness crisis. The concern for the homeless is heightened during the cold winter months when the needs of the homeless population are amplified, and the threat to homeless individuals is more severe.
The San Francisco Interfaith Council runs several winter shelters that provide a warm and safe place to stay, food, and support services. Recently, a group from St. John Armenian Church volunteered to provide a plentiful and nutritious meal to the homeless men at one of the Interfaith Council winter shelters. The volunteers prepared a meal in the St. John Fellowship Hall kitchen and then transported it to the shelter. Working with shelter staff, the food was plated and presented to the approximately 40 men that called the shelter home for the evening.
Prior to feeding those in need, Father Mesrop Ash led everyone in prayer. The meal of chicken, pilaf, roasted vegetables, salad, bread rolls, fruit, cookies and more was greatly appreciated by all those that received. The Lord only knows each of their stories, the mountains they have climbed in their personal struggles. But the shelter, the meal, the moment together was not about judging people or solving the homelessness crisis. It was about responding to basic human needs. It was about honoring the dignity of 40 or so men that share this City with us. The St. John volunteers were humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve those less fortunate on the final night of the winter shelter being open for the season. The next day, these men would need to find another solution for their very human needs of food, shelter, and support.
To learn more about the San Francisco Interfaith Council and the winter shelter program go to www.sfinterfaithcouncil.org