Regarding “Soup’s Off at Community Center,” (Orange County section, March 8): According to a recent survey, there are, at present, more homeless people in America than there were during the Great Depression. Yet a greater dichotomy seems to exist now between that group and the middle class.
There are many reasons for the current plight of the homeless and indigent (and perhaps as many for the callousness evinced toward them), but the bottom line is that no person should be without food and shelter, especially in a country as prosperous and enlightened as ours.
Due to cutbacks in government funding, the “undesirables” at the Rea Center are dependent upon the private sector, those “thousand points of light” who are fortunate enough to be able to satisfy their own basic needs.
The volunteers at Share Our Selves (of whom I am one) work incredibly hard to serve our clients as quickly and efficiently as possible and to keep the area as clean and quiet as we can.
Those whom our neighbors term “undesirables” wait patiently, sometimes for hours and most often with small children in tow, while we attempt to help them. We make no attempt to judge them other than to ascertain that they are needy.
They, in turn, realize the precariousness of their (and our) situation in the neighborhood, and all of us strive to keep our efforts and our presence as unobtrusive as possible--considering the number of people served and the services provided.
(There is more litter--and much more noise and loitering--around most high schools than there is at the Rea Center.)
Until the economy improves, especially for unskilled or handicapped workers, or until some government funding is restored, I beg our neighbors in Costa Mesa to consider that we are providing a vital service and that, with their cooperation, we may continue doing so.