Together We Can End Hunger and Homeless
By Crystal Wolfe
Published by The Tablet on August 14th
From Bible scriptures, we know that we all have a purpose under heaven. We are born to use our gifts to help others and to glorify God. Because God wastes nothing, we are also meant to transform and transcend our painful experiences and circumstances to benefit of others. When we know there is suffering and injustice around us, I believe we can be used as God’s hands and feet on this earth, to alleviate it. Hope can be found in the solutions, and every problem has a solution.
I’ve coined homelessness “the cause of the heart” because it is the rock bottom issue of our times. It has become a national, as well as global epidemic. There have never been so many people without a home in the history of the United States of America. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, 70% of the homeless in New York City are families, 40% of which are children.
As a child who grew up in an abusive home, surrounded by addicts, and briefly made homeless because of it, I understand and relate to this issue—from the inside out. When I was ten-years-old, my mother’s boyfriend who we were living with, died of alcoholism. We were subsequently rendered homeless by his family, who changed the locks right after his funeral.
As I was going through these hard times, God blessed me with the ability to write out my feelings, which helped me to process my circumstances in a healthy way. I share some of my own story, my mother’s story, dozens of personal stories of homeless people I’ve interviewed, and the synopsis of 107 celebrities who’ve been homeless in my book, Our Invisible Neighbors: Accounts, Causes, & Solutions to the Epidemic of Homelessness.
I hope that everyone who reads these stories may find a little bit of themselves in them, realizing that homelessness could happen to any one of us. Jesus Christ was poor and had “no home to rest his head,” while he dwelt here on earth. When I look at the homeless, I feel like I am looking at the broken heart of Christ, or his body covered in scars. When we help the homeless, I know that we are serving God himself. I believe that in some way we were all called to serve, and that the only way our own scars can be healed, is to help heal the wounds in others.
While 133 billion pounds of food goes to waste in this country every year, 1 in 5 people in New York City go hungry on a regular basis. I believe that no one should be going hungry while billions of pounds of quality food are going to waste. That’s why I founded the 501c3 Nonprofit, Catering for the Homeless, Inc.—to utilize food excess from catering companies, schools, restaurants, and grocery stores for the homeless and poor.
Currently there are 75 partners in my network. Together we have provided approximately 210 bags of clothes, 13,500 toiletries, and 30,000 meals for the homeless and poor thus far. Please go to www.cateringforthehomeless.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, to donate, or to become a partner. My books can be found on Amazon and Kindle, and a portion of the proceeds from each book purchase goes towards feeding and serving the homeless.
In New York City, 10% of the children attending school are homeless. Senator Joseph Addabbo passed a food law in September of 2017, encouraging schools throughout New York from the Pre-K to the University Level, to donate their food excess to charities who can distribute their food to the less fortunate. However, the Department of Education must opt into this law before the schools will comply.
Utilizing the food excess from schools alone would help solve the hunger crisis in New York. This would also set a precedence for schools to donate their food excess in the rest of the
Teachers have told me the Department of Education not only makes schools throw away tons of good food on a regular basis, they bleach it so no one can use it. Many educators want to donate this food excess to the children who are coming to school hungry, and to those who desperately need it in the community, but the DOE won’t let them. Teachers beseech me not to give up this cause, but I cannot make this happen alone.
The more signatures on my petition on change.org, the more likely the DOE will be to allow schools to donate their excess food. Please use your voice to support this effort to end hunger, and alleviate homelessness, by signing this petition. Together we can make a difference. Link for Petition: https://www.change.org/p/department-of-education-petition-for-ny-schools-to-donate-excess-food-to-alleviate-hunger-crisis