Food not Bombs feed the homeless every Saturday in Roeding Park. Now, they need your help.

When Shoestrings Come Untied

By: Kelly Borkert

On February 19, a fund-raiser for Fresno Food Not Bombs will take place at the Full Circle Brewery (620 F Street, just north of Ventura and east of the Highway 99 exit). Blake Jones and the Trike Shop will be featured along with a special guest from the Bay Area, Shovelman. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., and the music starts at 7 p.m. A variety of FNB fund-raiser staples will be served, including varieties of vegan chilis, cornbread, brownies and salad, among other delicacies that the Saturday group likes to prepare for special occasions.

As previously mentioned in the Community Alliance, money has been tight for the Saturday group, sometimes serving meal to meal with the barest necessities in place. Naturally, the dedicated volunteers are always able to work some magic and pull tofu rabbits out of man-made material hats at the last second, but the shoestrings this operation runs on have been particularly frayed this year.

As much as we appreciate the wonderful contributions that have kept us going the last six months, it is time we got together again for a big party and pooled our resources as a community to keep the food flowing every Saturday at Roeding Park, as it has for 14 years so far. There may be a free lunch at one o’clock just north of Storyland, but serving containers and staple ingredients like beans, rice and spices add up quickly. On average, $50–$65 a week goes into the basic necessities required to serve good quality hot food outdoors.

Conditions for the homeless in the Roeding Park area have not improved in the last year. There have been numerous instances of property theft and failure to provide housing assistance even as the City of Fresno has been instructed and/or promised to behave differently. We see the results of this neglect every week.

One bright spot is the excellent support from community members for the Sleeping Bag Project. At this time, the Sleeping Bag Project is well equipped to provide bags, tarps and blankets for people in need, but there is more that can be done. Requests have come in for tents, so it would be nice if anyone who has any unused tents in good shape could please consider offering them to those who need them now. Interested donors can call 559-438-4088 and leave a contact number for these urgently needed items.

Another opportunity for community members to help is as a volunteer. We always need people to help with kitchen prep, transportation and serving at the park. Right now, we really need people with trucks to pitch in on transporting food to the park. The vehicles we have relied on for doing this have become quite feeble, so that is a resource that we need, and any help would be greatly appreciated.

The Saturday Food Not Bombs group prepares meals at Wesley United Methodist Church (1343 E. Barstow Ave.) from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., after which the food is taken to Roeding Park and served at 1 p.m. every Saturday. Volunteers are welcome to drop in anytime at either location, if only to see what goes on, and to have a taste of what’s cooking. Call 559-438-4088 with questions or to volunteer.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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