We have all seen the, “Be the change…” quote turned into meme after meme. Maybe you have read it a few times on a bumper sticker in the parking lot of the Whole Foods. (Yeah, I said it.) What does it mean? To one group of volunteers, it simply meant opening up a few fold out tables and filling them with food for hungry humans.
I had a chance to talk with Armando Flores, founder of CAFFE Clothing and Food for Everyone, early this morning at Cesar Chavez park in downtown Sacramento. This is where you will find him every Sunday morning of the year, serving an average of 150 individuals in need. In addition, he spends much of his time attending meetings across the street at City Hall, advocating for the homeless.
Flores, and his team of roughly 300 volunteers, have been at this for 6 years now. When I say it is as simple as fold out tables and food, that really is the truth. However, that is only how it started. The members of CAFFE work hard to gather food, health and hygiene essentials, and clothing donations to then distribute to the homeless. The veteran members keep it organized, packing “to go” lunches, serving soup, and sorting clothing. Not to mention that they make sure that enough serving tools and vessels are available. They even offer dog food for any furry companions. (Awww.) Local high school kiddos have been known to pitch in, as well as some girl scout troops. I crocheted a bunch of hat donations for this week. I heard that the girl scouts did as well, but I’m certain that they did a much better job. Kinda of weird, considering that we both are powered by cookies.
I asked volunteer, Carolyn Washington, about the people CAFFE serves. She told me about a woman who does not like to take anything for free, so she passes out beautiful origami swans to the servers. Carolyn’s son, Bodhi, brings her extra paper to continue her projects. I chatted with Hortencia, who is a regular visitor. I guess I should say that she chatted and I nodded. She spoke about CAFFE with what could only be called spirited enthusiasm. In fact, that attitude was everywhere in the park this morning. One woman, wearing a new (to her) coat and holding a cup of soup, walked by. She was shouting, “Thank you! Thank you!” It was infectious enough for me to promise to make a trip out to set up for Thanksgiving. (Yes, they do holidays too!)
I know that I could have written about many things this Thanksgiving, things that may have been more in fitting with my website. However, I did promise to post stories about those strong in the Force. I can say without a doubt, that CAFFE fits that criteria. To find out how you can give to CAFFE, visit their Facebook page! You can also contact Armando Flores directly at (916) 799-6652.
Thank you for making the holidays a little brighter for the members of our community! MTFBWY!