Shoe Distribution and Soup Kitchen for the Homeless: Clearwater, FL
Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Clearwater, FL have been providing new shoes to the homeless since the free podiatry camps began in 2008. The shoe distribution has eventually been incorporated into the Sai Center’s soup kitchen service at the St. Vincent DePaul Homeless Shelter, held every 2nd and 4th Saturdays every month.
The names of the homeless and their corresponding shoe sizes are usually taken weeks prior to the distribution date. During the service in March 2021, a scrumptious lasagna dinner was served before the distribution of shoes, socks, face masks and toiletries. Sixty first round and thirty second meals were served, and more than seventy pairs of shoes were distributed. Two weeks later in April, 2021, about 13 Sai volunteers worked hard to prepare and give out 60 servings of burrito fully loaded with salsa, chips, oatmeal bars and lemonade. Every last speck of food was gone. Volunteers also gave out thirty pairs of shoes. The new person at the front desk who signed up the homeless, was overwhelmed by the service and wanted to know more about the organization the volunteers belonged to!
A member of the Sai Center shared what this service has meant to her: “This service is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I have been a nurse for over forty years. But I worked as a nurse to provide for my four children. The first time I volunteered at one of free medical camps, I was completely overwhelmed with joy at helping the needy and rendering my service for free. Then I was asked to volunteer at St. Vincent DePaul Homeless Shelter, to serve food to the homeless. It has been my greatest joy. You can feel the outpouring of love from the volunteers for the homeless! The words, “Love All, Serve All” resonates with each of us. Hopefully, I have lifted one person out of despair.”