There is a new kind of “Breakfast Club” in town and it’s open to all who don’t have a home.
Father Jon-Stephen Hedges from Saint Athanasius Antiochian Orthodox Church is organizing a hot breakfast for Isla Vista’s homeless population in conjunction with the Community Action Commission (CAC), the Community Affairs Board (CAB) and various other campus and community organizations. For $2.85 per meal, the CAC can prepare hot meals using food from the Santa Barbara Food Bank and deliver the meals to Anisq’Oyo’ Park.
Fr. Hedges said he is drafting a proposal to pitch to the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) at its Feb. 6 meeting for permission to hold the breakfast in the park. Once the food is dropped off, a different organization will volunteer each day of the week to serve the meals.
“CAB, Alpha Phi and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship have already said that they want a day, so there definitely are people who really want to get involved with this thing,” Fr. Hedges said. “I think that the [local homeless] are going to be particularly enthusiastic when they hear that it’s not tied to anything. You don’t have to sit through a sermon to get your meal. These folks really just want a sense of community.”
The CAC can start the program with just a few days notice, Fr. Hedges said. Therefore, if the proposal gets approved at the Feb. 6 IVRPD meeting, the meal service can begin within days. The organizers estimate they will serve 40-50 meals per day to people who are without homes and don’t have a kitchen to cook in.
Fr. Hedges said the service will cost a little less than $100 a day and the program has currently raised $500. He is seeking other sources of funding and more organizations to adopt a day to volunteer.
“I have not yet talked to folks from the county or other organizations who may be willing to help with costs,” he said. “It’s amazing how much cooperation there is out there from all sorts of people from different agencies. Within every institution there are good-hearted people who just want to something for their community. These services are without a great expense and it really does make a difference.”
This meal program is not the first in I.V. A few years ago, a similar breakfast program called Let Isla Vista Eat was hosted at the Big Red Barn, located on Camino Del Sur; however, the program experienced complications.
If anyone is interested in donating time or money or if an organization would like to adopt a day, contact Fr. Hedges by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.