Saturday, November 19, 2005


BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER WITH THIS POST, let me make it clear that I do appreciate all that charities do for the District's homeless population. There are certainly gaps that they fill in spots where the city's social services come up short, despite the best of intentions.

But if you were to observe McPherson Square on a Saturday afternoon -- let's say today for instance -- you might question whether resources to feed the homeless are coordinated at all, or whether the well-meaning charities are all operating in a logistical vacuum, unaware of each other's activities.

THIS AFTERNOON, I was watching the Michigan-Ohio State game (Michigan lost ...) in a friend's living room overlooking McPherson Square (yes, there is one residential building on McPherson Square) where we had prime viewing of all the activities of the homeless residents down below. In the span of five hours, we saw five vans pull up at different times to feed the homeless population. Every time a food van pulled up on the western side of the square opposite Georgia Brown's, McPherson's population would rush over to the sidewalk (including one man in a red motor scooter) to line up to get their food.

Like I've already said, I applaud the efforts of charities, but I would have difficulty eating what looked like five good-sized servings within the span of five hours. People do get hungry at different times of the day, not just during the afternoon.

But perhaps I'm missing something. Maybe it's a one-time logisitical lapse. I do pick up Street Sense (the city's homeless newspaper for those who are unaware) every once and a while but not enough to where I would consider myself well informed on the situation the homeless face in D.C., so I would be hesitant to give a full analysis of the overall feeding strategies for the charities without some more research. But as a simple observer, it would make sense if the charities would either pool their efforts or make sure that the same group of people isn't overfed in the same time period. That's all I'm saying.

(Speaking of Street Sense, there's an interesting article about the Metropolitan Police reportedly harassing Street Sense distributors in Chinatown ...)

>> "Community Group Fights Harrassment" [Street Sense]


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