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Join the Picnic
August 19, 2002
Having just read your special report ("Feeding the Problem," "The Cost of Free Meals" and "Food for Thought."), I wish to make some suggestions in response to the problem of numerous disorganized and irresponsible public feedings that occur daily in our community:
l) Since the feeding sessions could be construed by the volunteers as a public picnic, I suggest we invite the public at large to join the party and partake of the picnic goodies en masse. It would be highly discourteous and biased (and perhaps illegal) for the sponsoring volunteers to turn away any and all Santa Monica residents.
2) Since the volunteer organizations say they must come all the way to Santa Monica to find and feed homeless, we should spare them the travel time and expense and bus the homeless to them. Of course, we run the risk of losing some of our homeless once they experience these other lovely communities, but that's a risk we must take.
3) Perhaps we could return the kindness of our visiting volunteers by reciprocating and having our own volunteers bring food to their homeless. I understand that there is a shortage of homeless in their own communities, and they may be hard to find, but I suspect that once word gets out that we are there, "if we bring it, they will come."
Of course, the above is suggested in a spirit of sarcasm, stemming from my frustration over this ongoing and worsening situation. I am not blaming the homeless; I am blaming the individuals and organizations who show no concern for our city's efforts to deal with this issue in a sane and cooperative manner, while they retreat to the clean, safe environment of their own territory, feeling smug and self-satisfied about having done their bit to insure that the problem stays within the confines of our borders.Esther Cameron
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