Obstacles to success can be poor eyesight, poor hearing, poor reading skills, and poor nutrition. June 2nd we heard from those who help lighten these burdens. Janine Kennedy, of Teen Feed, informed us of another dimension in aiding the young and vulnerable. Teen Feed creates a family for those, age 13-25, who have been forced onto the streets.
And here are the facts:
- The incidence of homelessness is rising sharply. An estimated 800-900 kids are sleeping in an insecure location
- Youth of color are a large part of those served.
- Home abuse and addiction are among the major factors causing this homelessness.
- Teen Feed affects their lives in subtle and social ways.
- Kids’ needs, which cannot be directly met, can be referred to places where help is available.
- They can be gotten into housing and into school.
- Too many kids are jailed, some via outdated truancy laws.
- Until recently, the older homeless have looked after the young homeless. The former have been evacuated, leaving the young unprotected.
- Bringing them in is superior to treating them on the streets.
- They sit at tables with mature adult volunteers who can hear their stories and potentially connect them to services.
- Runaways are difficult to deal with. If they come in for help, it is then available to them.
- There is no ID requirement to enter into the system.
- In winter, socks and camping gear are provided.
- When sitting and eating with other adults with their children, sometimes can be beneficial when they see normal relations.
- Because of previous trauma, they are candidates for mental illness. The process can be stopped between 18 and 24.
- Outreach teams include formerly homeless youths. They know where the kids hide.
- Volunteers can sit at a table or organize a meal team. These teams prepare, cook, and serves the kids.
- Allies clean up, share basic needs, and are a source of peer relationships.
- Teen Feed provides IDs and directs the kids to medical care facilities.
- Some of the kids do not want to be found, in that they escaped from foster care and do not want to be sent back to it.
- Outlets from trauma include art and other similar pursuits
- Donors at all levels provide funding and their time.
- There are a few employees, many volunteers.
Comment: Anyone who saves one life has done a heroic deed. Those who save many are truly blessed.