To some students, the words “Share a Sunrise” mean sharing baked goods with Isla Vista’s homeless.
Friday mornings at 8, six or seven members of the California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG) and the Community Affairs Board meet at Espresso Roma to go into I.V. and share breakfast with the homeless population.
Although C.A.B. had been hosting such a program for some time, breakfast was salvaged food from local restaurants served once or twice a quarter. Electrical engineering graduate student James Tandon pushed the program to meet every week.
“The idea was to take leftover baked goods from surrounding restaurants and, in our case the Ucen, and take that to the homeless in the community,” he said. “The problem is that food donations are hit and miss. So now we take the food downtown to the homeless shelter there.”
Tandon said the food, mostly doughnuts, bagels and other baked goods, costs less than $10 each week. Sometimes Tandon pays for the food himself; sometimes C.A.B. or CalPIRG make donations, and sometimes the UCen donates day old baked goods or volunteers bring their own food. However, the program’s focus is less about the food and more on the interaction with other members of the community.
The Share a Sunrise team’s route begins at Espresso Roma and passes through Anisq’ Oyo’ Park and the Frisbee Golf Course on Sueno Road. Last Friday, the group passed out baked goods and talked with five local homeless people.
Michelle Kohen, a cultural anthropology major, said this program is a great opportunity to build a healthy rapport between students and homeless I.V. residents.
“It’s a good way to intermix with the local homeless population and learn what it is that they need from us,” she said.
Tandon said if the Breakfast Club, a still-forming food program founded by St. Athanasius Antiochian Orthodox Church, falls into place, then he and the Share a Sunrise group would be interested in adopting one day of the week to help with that program also.
“This is a good and easy thing to do,” he said. “And I’ve made a lot of friends along the way.”