I am so grateful that there's been interest in Brunch Club. The more people get involved the more good work we can do. For anyone wondering how this came about, it went a little like this...
In May I created my own non profit here in San Diego. Brunch Club is a group I started to positively impact the homeless community. I live downtown and see homeless people every day. Most people walk by them and pretend they don't exist because it's just easier. It seems so daunting to try to help. That, and we're scared. But I believe alienating them is the worst thing we can do. They are people, who started out as babies just like us. A series of unfortunate events occurred in their lives and now they have nothing. Some have fought for our country, many have been abused, and all have been thrown away by society. On my birthday this year I bought some bagels from a cafe and handed them out to some homeless people on Broadway. Just 5 bagels. The gratitude they showed and the look in their eye was so powerful. How simple to just look at them instead of past them, and it makes such a positive impact.
A few months ago I was feeling down in the dumps about a breakup I was going through. I felt myself sinking into self pity and I really didn’t want to go down that road. So I decided to be of service to someone else, which is the best way I know how to get over myself. I knew I wanted to feed the homeless, to give them what I could, but as I’m unemployed, what I can give isn’t much. It was Thursday, and I posted a Facebook invite for a day of service on Sunday. I didn’t know if anyone would show up, and I planned to do it alone if they didn’t, but I knew that if more people came and chipped in a few dollars we could feed more than 5 people. I didn’t want to just drop off stuff to them though, I wanted them to know they are thought about, and cared for, and most of all worthy of a good life. So I made 50 handwritten notes with words of inspiration. On the other side I wrote the name and address of a local shelter.
On Sunday morning 7 people showed up at my house to help me. We made 50 packs with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a bottle of water, a toothbrush, a granola bar, and a note and went to hand them out in a forgotten part of town where the homeless congregate. In a matter of minutes the packs were gone. As I got back into my car I turned and looked at a man sitting on the floor as he took his sandwich out of the bag. Taped on the bag was a note I had written, and as he read it his face lit up and was enveloped by a warm smile. We made eye contact as he held back tears.
Through Facebook, my wonderful local community, and word of mouth, Brunch Club grew. For the second event in June 37 people came to my house. We were able to get some food and hygiene kits donated from some local places. With my own money I bought enough supplies for 150 packs of requested items. I wrote twice as many notes, and other members of the group wrote some too. We fed 200 people and handed out 150 packs. I put out a jar for donations and recouped the costs plus $100 extra that will go towards July's event. We saw more tears of gratitude and joy, handed out hugs, shared prayers, and heard stories.
In the near future I hope to hand out tote bags or ideally backpacks with the items and notes inside so we can eliminate using plastic bags and offer them another item that is often requested. I hope to get a sponsor or sponsors who will donate bags, food, and items so that I don't have to borrow from my limited resources.
A meal and hygiene items can really help, but truly it’s the connections that make the most impact. It’s the tears from a 17 year old boy who told us that he’s all alone because everyone he has ever known has been killed on the street. He asked us to pray for him, and we stood around him in a circle and did exactly that. We hugged him, we shook his hand, and we told him we wanted to see him make it to his 18th birthday next month. He just kept repeating “thank you”. This is what the Brunch Club is about. This is what we do. We look people in the eye and tell them they are worthy. We give them what we can. We give them food and stuff they need, and we give them love.
Please 'like' our facebook page to get updates about our events and join in. Follow us on Instagram @brunch_club. If you would like to donate money or items, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!