Homeless and Hungry

What are their stories? Who is helping now? How can you help?


Bishop’s student group CSI prepare and serve dinners for the homlesss community in Pasific Beach, servise groups like CSI help serve the homlesss comunity nationwide to help combat hunger

The wind howls outside the frost-covered windows, and the temperature reads a chilly 55 degrees. Inside, you’re enjoying the comfort of the warm, crackling fireplace, family conversation, and soul-warming food. It’s Thanksgiving dinner and you are having a great time with your extended family, spending the evening with family, food, and good times. Maybe it’s even pleasant hearing the harsh conditions outside from the safety of your home, but only because you’re not thinking about the half million homeless people outside in the cold—hungry. 

As Thanksgiving—America’s second favorite holiday according to The Harrison Poll— approaches, everyone tends to get caught up in what food they’re having, where they’re going, and who they’re seeing that they forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving: gratitude. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to be sharing gratitude, for all you have, be it food, family, or a warm house.

Because, unfortunately, some people in America spend Thanksgiving without the things we all are so thankful for: a home, food, and family. Especially in California, which has the second highest rate of homelessness in the country according to The End Homelessness Foundation, it is a given that homeless people inhabit our streets as passing faces.

One way to help is to attend and help at Hunger Suppers, where volunteers prepare and serve food for homeless in need of dinner. There I talked to many homeless people, and learned parts of their stories.

To name a few people I talked to: Michael, Julia, and a cute dog Daisy. Julia has been a Chargers fan since the 1970s, and she said, “I don’t get why they don’t just come back!” And Michael jokes about his dog Daisy, saying, “Seriously, you watch out—Daisy will beat you up.” In reality Daisy, a ten pound poodle; she wouldn’t hurt a fly. 

Homeless people have opinions, and personalities that are important to learn, so we can put a person to a face. Julia loves Thanksgiving: her memories of it, she explained, are “filled with [her] husband cooking all day; he wouldn’t even buy a pie!” Her husband was employed as a chef, so Thanksgiving was naturally a favorite holiday. Julia loves stuffing, gravy, and bread pudding the best. These are things any of us talk about, and memories we could all share.  

Michael moved from Richmond, Virginia where he served in the army. His girlfriend asked if he wanted to “road trip out in six days with her.” Michael responded with a positive, “Why the hell not?” He has such a positive attitude towards life; even being in the situation he is in, he lives without regret. He said, “There’s been good times and bad times, but it’s been a wild journey.” 

Michael and Julia seem so similar to us, and each have their own personalities and preferences. Michael lives without regret, sometimes leading to consequence, but always ending in positivity. Julia is opinionated—she loves things and hates things—but always has reasons. Just like us, the homeless community have personalities, we just don’t always seek to learn them. 

That’s why it’s important we help people in our community struggling now. According to Feeding America, 38 million people are hungry, flocking towards soup kitchens and churches for food. So many people and groups in our community already are involved to make a difference.  

Ms. Jackie Gomez, the Director of Service at Bishops, explained that in last year’s Thanksgiving Drive “We made meals for 23 different families in San Diego” adding up to 230 meals according to Reverend Nicole Simopoulos-Pigato, School Chaplain. Ms. Gomez believes service is important because what she does “Means something to a lot of people” because helping people improve their circumstances is a vital part of service. 

 Angelina Kim (‘25), who is involved in Chapel Council, Community Service Initiative (CSI), and The All Girls STEM Society, does service to “have a positive benefit on other people’s lives” and also to “develop empathy for others and learn what others are going through.” Reverend Simopoulos believes “service and faith are connected” further explaining that being a “person of faith is to act for justice in our community.” She explained that justice is fighting any inequality, including food inequality by feeding the hungry. 

At the Hunger Suppers, Bishop’s service clubs like CSI and Chapel council use the Bishop’s kitchen to prepare a homemade meal in the day and serve it in the evening in Pacific Beach. Ms. Gomez and Rev. Simopoulos also help out at these events. 

The 40 homeless people that we served showed immense gratitude for simply a dinner. Angelina said, “I don’t often interact with people that are going through tough times, so the Hunger Supports help teach me a lot about their conduction of living.” Interacting with struggling people and seeing their gratitude can greatly motivate service learning. Ms. Gomez explained that when putting on a drive, Bishops and her  “do the best we can about educating the students before drives” so that the “students know why we’re doing this.” 

According to Feeding America, 60 million Americans headed to Soup Kitchens across America in 2020 alone, showing their importance. Soup kitchens get their food through donations like the drives Bishop’s has. That is why drives like the Bishop’s Thanksgiving Drive are so important. 

This year, Bishop’s is doing two drives. “This year we have two plans; the middle school will do the same thing as last year, and the Upper School will be doing a local food drive with Hearts to Hands,” Ms. Gomez explained. Last year, they did a small drive consisting of, “The middle schoolers bringing in food for the advisories.” She continued to explain that the drive has and will continue to be partnered with a woman named Candy who’s “been able to raise 16,000 pounds of food for places like Feeding America, San Diego Food Bank, Trident Pantry.” Candy is an amazing person who runs events across San Diego to help the homeless get meals. 

So since, according to Julia, “it’s almost that time again for delicious food,” as you enjoy the festivities and food, be empathetic to the people in need during this time, by keeping out for Bulletin announcements and donating to the Thanksgiving Drive when time, so everyone can enjoy the feeling you have of your belt buckling after finishing a delicious Thanksgiving meal.