Vicki is grateful for the meals she receives at FOOD for Lane County’s Dining Room. She knows what it’s like to be homeless.
“It’s a profound experience being on the street. I’ve been there. It was about ‘how do I survive?’ You get the gear. You get the sleeping bag. You figure out where the food is.”
Hunger and homelessness often go hand in hand. Our Dining Room staff and volunteers see firsthand the toll that hunger and homelessness takes on the individual. Four thousand unique dinner guests ate at the Dining Room last year, many of whom were experiencing homelessness.
“Many of the diners I serve don’t have a place to go,” said Dining Room volunteer Kathy Kelley. “Having a safe, warm place to sleep is unattainable for many people. The reason doesn’t matter. The fact is they have a right to a safe and warm place to sleep.”
Surviving on the street takes more work than we realize. Homeless men and women are often sleep-deprived, cold, wet and sick. With no transportation and little or no money, they can spend all day getting to food and maybe an appointment before they need to search for a safe place to sleep.
Most of the people FOOD for Lane County serves are housed, but even that level of security is tenuous for many. A serious illness or major expense can mean financial disaster. When you live paycheck to paycheck, even the possibility of homelessness is never far away. Those without shelter face some of the greatest challenges.