Well, tonight?s the night we stop making burritos. I?m a little sad to see that part of our ministry go but I have to desire God?s will over my own. The hardest part is that we can make 48 burritos with bean, cheese, rice and salsa for about $20 but we can?t get that much hearty, nutritious, non-perishable, pre-packaged food for that little. Right now, I picked up some single serving cereal boxes on sale 10 for $3 but that?s not much compared to a warm burrito. We can still give out socks and water, both of which are very appreciated. I?ll keep looking for other food items we can bring but food isn?t as needed as you would think.
It turns out that a lot of the people you see out on the streets get money from SSI (Social Security Insurance). The government will give them about $950 a month for whatever disability they seem to have. Now this may not seem like much, especially in San Diego, but you can rent a room downtown for about $600 a month and live on the $300 left over. Sure it?s not the high life but its food and shelter, which can get you started on the road to independence. Unfortunately, the addictions that led them to the street, usually keeps them from spending their money wisely. Most often, the people we see on the street who collect SSI use up their money three weeks into the month (weekly rent).
Getting fed can be difficult in San Diego. While there are many programs to help the homeless, most do not include daily meals. Those that do, often require participation in their program, which, for people who usually reject authority, is not an acceptable trade. There are various groups that hand out food on a weekly basis. City of Refuge is one of the most dedicated to this end. They head out several nights a week and hand out ?legit? food and try to minister to the people where they find them. There are also a few small groups that bring miscellaneous food items down throughout the week like those from the Rock Church and Point Loma University, but they, like us are limited by resources and bound by the law.
We?ll see how this all pans out tonight but I suspect we?ll want to take this to the next level. Sharing the Gospel is our first priority, but feeding the homeless regularly would be real nice, too. Unfortunately, I don?t know how cooperative the city would be to a permanent food program. They don?t want homeless people congregating or lingering in any one area, but they don?t want people handing out food without safety measures in place. In the mean time, I guess we’ll have to call ourselves
Burrito and Socks Ministry.