Published: April 10, 2020
Over the past few weeks, the Friday Food Sharing, which San Francisco Friends Meeting has supported for several years, has expanded to include Wednesdays, in addition to Fridays.
As we walk around the neighborhood, the overwhelming sense of loneliness and fear in the poor stings in the heart – what can be done? Bringing everyone indoors is not possible - there are not nearly enough beds.
And even the too-few beds that are available pose dangers. One of the long-time participants in our Bible study at Glide Memorial Church is a current resident of St. Vincent de Paul’s Multi-Service Center South, San Francisco's largest and most extensive homeless shelter. Mayor London Breed reported at a press conference today that a Covid-19 “outbreak has occurred” at that facility, where seventy people have just tested positive for the highly infectious disease, and where Breed reported that 100 people were sheltered last night.
Tightly clustered communities and communicable diseases are a dangerous combination. The residents must be terrified.
This reality has led me to take the Spirit-led action of creating Light Squad, which is a “church in place” experiment. The goal is to bring needed resources together in one place so that the most vulnerable can actually "shelter in place" while living unhoused. I plan to organize the first of these Light Squad communities near City Hall in San Francisco. We will provide food, laundry, and daily temperature checks to everyone in the community. I envision this as a small-scale, personal model that can be repeated again and again in many places.
The current "crisis" will not end when we have a vaccine. Millions of persons are now newly unemployed and have nearly spent all of their savings. Some who have suffered material loss will be tempted by nationalist, racist, and other hate groups.
Everyone will seek to interpret their suffering.
What can we say, Friends? How we show up today will plant the seeds of the world we live in for decades to come. Let's shine the Light,
from Zae Illo, San Francisco Friends Meeting (4/10/2020)