New Year’s Day Caregiving

This is a caregiving story about assisting homeless people in San Francisco on New Year’s Day. What started out as three friends giving away 6 KFC meals and 6 McDonald’s Hamburgers to hungry, homeless people eleven years ago, has turned into a yearly event for a group of close friends. They started collecting clothing months ago; now the group donates money to purchase chicken dinners, bottled water, hats, gloves, fresh underwear, and socks. They assemble sanitary bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and other necessities for men and women. Even homeless pets get bags of dog food.Last year, they set a record at their 11th annual giveaway. The group handed out over 1,000 hot KFC meals and 1,200 bottles of water, thanks to the generosity of KFC. They gave away hundreds of coats, sweaters, pants, shirts, shoes, and other clothing. The group’s favorite day of the year is January 1st when they help homeless individuals start the year off on a high note by showing them that someone cares. Nick, who has participated since he was 14, is a four-year veteran, and recently wrote about their mission: ‘The really important aspect of what we do is that we can deliver a bunch of otherwise down-and-out people an uptick. It’s not just dinner. It’s not just a new pair of socks. It’s something positive and unexpected and warm and, just for a moment, resolves all their problems in a way that most people don’t really understand. It’s not great to have a bunch of “ordinary people” problems. Still, it’s definitely far worse to have problems that relate to finding a place for a warm and safe night’s sleep or having a real meal or just being clean. There is a part of me that is really fulfilled by helping these people. It makes me understand that my need to help others that are truly distressed can be met by understanding what these people need from me, not what I feel like doing for them. And so, for me, the view of San Francisco is forever changed.’Compassionate caregiving can take many forms. We hope you visit Caregiving Network and share your information and support with each other. Happy New Year!

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