Kvell and Tell – February 26 2021 – Reaching Out to the Unhoused with Pastor Kathy Huck
Reaching Out to the Unhoused with Pastor Kathy Huck
By Nina Treiman
What’s the difference between hearing about people who are house-insecure and food-insecure, and becoming a person who interacts with them? EVERYTHING!
On a clear but windy Sunday I went out with Pastor Kathy Huck from About My Father’s Business to deliver food and PPE to people experiencing homelessness in Canoga Park and West Hills. My expectation was that people would be hesitant to open up to me … a stranger. I could not have predicted the warm family culture and the kind way that people look out for each other. People were happy to see us and to accept the supplies we were offering. And they were thrilled to see us!
What I quickly came to realize is that these are not faceless “encampments.” These are people and Pastor Kathy knows them all by name.
Kevin is an articulate man who repairs bicycles. He has been approved to move into The Willows, a new Permanent Supported Housing development.
Irma is an older woman who likes socializing with her unhoused brothers and sisters … her tent area overflowing with the miscellany of a hoarder.
The one constant among all these people is the relationship that Pastor Kathy has with them. And as we moved from tent to tent, I became aware that these people are even more appreciative of the time the pastor spends with them than of the food and supplies she brings. I became aware that she, and her small team, were giving a tremendous amount of their time (and money) to making sure each of these people get a visit and food several times a month.
But why do they have to do it all? Why can’t we set up an “adopt a friend” program where each family/individual visits a tent twice a month bringing some food and clothing, and spending some time talking or playing games. While people wait to get into supportive housing, this program would make their lives on the street a bit more bearable and allow respect to grow from both sides. It’s really a “win-win”!
And I learned that Pastor Kathy and About My Father’s Business are struggling to receive the wonderful donations of food and clothing, and to distribute them. The missing component is a van large enough to receive and transport the donations. I am proud that Congregation Or Ami is partnering to help make sure this important organization has what it needs to continue its holy work.
My take-away … I’ll be back. I got a taste and I’m ready for more. I hope that some of you are, too!