Letter: When you give a banquet, invite the poor

For many years Chico’s Thanksgiving Day Run For Food has repeatedly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed the homeless at the Jesus Center on Park Avenue. Meals were provided at no charge and they were open to all.

Last year that all changed. The JC abandoned the town’s core, where most unhoused people shelter. The Center elected to house and serve only those who maintain sobriety, a much smaller subset of the unhoused population.

A rough back of the napkin calculation would suggest that the Run For Food grossed approximately $125,000 this year. Given the greatly reduced number of individuals now served by the Jesus Center it would be nice to see an accounting of what part of the funds raised goes to feeding the hungry and how much goes to other services or expenses.

Other homeless service providers in town provide food and necessities to ANY and ALL unhoused people, not only those who have had the good fortune to get sober. By all means get out and walk or run on Thanksgiving morning next year, but also consider donating to organizations that care for those without housing equally and unconditionally, groups such as Chico Friends on the Street, Safe Space and others.

“…when you give a banquet, invite the poor…” Luke 14: 13

— Dutch Williamson, Chico

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