Explore San Luis Obispo's Response to the Homeless Dilemma


Icy winds this winter remind us how much the warm breath of kindness is needed by the homeless among us. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church offers a free opportunity for you to explore “San Luis Obispo’s Response to the Homeless Dilemma 1968 to 2017 and Beyond” led those who help the homeless, Wednesday Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m.


St. Stephen’s is cshelter photo_Croppedelebrating 150 years of Social Action serving the community this year. A warm meal following the speakers will be shared with guests who are hosted at the church during February because its Ramsden Hall is overflow shelter for CAPSLO, the Community Action Partnership.


150th February_Speakers_4WebSpeakers include long-time volunteers Mary Parker from People’s Kitchen, Grace MacIntosh from CAPSLO, Judy Lewis and Lisa Wallender from Interfaith Coalition for the Homeless (ICH).

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is located at 1344 Nipomo St., San Luis Obispo. Free parking is available in the church parking lot off Pismo Street. It is known as the “little red church with the great big heart.” The furnace will be “on.”


Mary Parker, long-time People’s Kitchen advocate recently wrote: “Prior to the creation of the People’s Kitchen, hungry people were looking in dumpsters for survival food and sharing the food with others who were hungry, homeless, and/or unemployed. Many of the original clients were released from mental facilities, sent back to their home county with no money or support for them. Local citizens took this concept of sharing and began serving a noon meal in Mitchell Park. By the end of 1983 there were 22 different organizations participating in serving the meal. The People’s Kitchen formed a Board of Directors and became a non-profit organization. The board made a commitment to serve a hot noon meal prepared and served by volunteers every day of the year.”


"People’s Kitchen has never missed serving that noon meal in more than 30 years. It operates with no city, county, state or federal funding. It is purely a volunteer effort and has never needed to have a fund raiser,” wrote Tom Norwood. Today 42 groups participate in serving a noon meal to the hungry. More than 25,000 meals are served each year according to Parker. People don’t have to be homeless to be hungry.


Thanks to the extraordinary effort of many volunteers the Prado Day Center began operation Sept. 15, 1997. It provides a spacious indoor eating area, a multipurpose room with restrooms, showers, a laundry, a lounge, a playroom for children, and offices for staff and social service providers. People’s Kitchen joined other community agencies there.


The following year San Luis Obispo received a special achievement award for the Center from the California Healthy Cities and Communities organization. It was one of five communities in the state to be honored. In 1999 the City was one of five recipients nationwide to receive a City Livability Program Award for the Prado Day Center from the United States Conference of Mayors. Other honors have followed.

© 2018 St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
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