Faithfully, every Monday afternoon, hundreds of Oakland’s growing homeless population and needy families that live on the streets or under freeway overpasses , are served nutritious home-cooked meals by the seven volunteers, mostly women, from the Center Street Baptist Church’s Food Ministry.
Catherine Birchett-Linzie, along with Yvette Brown, co-founded their sanctuary’s serving initiative over a large pot of chicken noodle soup. Birchett Linzie said her sister’s circle of mothers and children saves, scrapes and scours each week to pool their few personal dollars and mites to raise at least $500 to buy food and gas. They are guided by the biblical reference of Matthew 25 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in.”
“Our spirits are lifted by their responses when the homeless see our tired old little red van, that sometimes breaks down, coming to feed them and give them care packages for minimal sanitation and decency. Our hearts are lifted because many of our volunteers have been homeless too. We feel the pain in our feet because we’ve walked in their shoes,” said Birchette Linzie, while cooking huge servings of Barbecued ribs, baked beans, mashed potatoes, vegetables, dinner rolls, bottles of water and choice of home-baked cakes.
Sister Elizabeth Scott, a retired technician of the Sheriff’s Department, serves side by side with those who were formerly incarcerated, said “we sing and pray with the children before we leave.”
She said they needed mobile warmers and coolers to keep the food warm or cold. Their members also knit caps and scarves to keep the homeless family members warm.
Their goal is to serve more than 125 each week and nearly 200 hundred on the fourth Saturday of each month.
“We need a large refrigerator to replace their Soda machine, supplies for tiny kitchen space, non perishable food donations and monetary contributions, said Scott. Our 501c3 tax-exempt number is 94-2821706 and our email is [email protected] .”
Next week: Children’s Ministry testifies about feeding the homeless.