At its peak, the homeless population in Aliso Viejo numbered no more than 50, if at all. The city is not the most convenient place for a life of indigence. Public transportation only operates during peak hours on weekdays. And the city government has little support for those who live out on the streets unlike Santa Ana or Laguna Beach, cities that have created the infrastructure to assist people in need. Frankly, we want to keep it that way. The less people we see out on the streets, the better the country and Americans are doing, economically or otherwise. It is also the sign that people have been able to solve their problems one way or another, with some assistance or on their own.
This year, Pastor Carol of the Vineyard Church organized the first “Thanksgiving Dinner” for the homeless people in the city. The venue was an open terrace between restaurants at one of the strip malls in the middle of town. Because most establishments shut down for Thanksgiving, we had it all to ourselves. The temperatures hovered around the low 50’s and high 40’s with forecasts of rains. Fortunately, the skies did not open up until early the next morning keeping us dry to enjoy each other’s company.
Some of the homeless people could not make it, for one reason or another. But, it was a great get together, nonetheless. Conversations ranged from eradicating homelessness to ancillary situations that most homeless people experience such as prison time and the loss of driving or professional privileges. Before leaving each other’s company we committed to returning the next year irrespective of our particular situations. Those who are able to leave the streets could serve to inspire others. But, the event is not exclusive to those who are homeless. It may also serve as a place to have a hot meal for those who may be away from their families.
Thank you Pastor Carol for whipping up some great hot food.