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Syndic Literary Journal

Note from LeRoy Chatfield ~ Publisher, Syndic Literary Journal

Please meet Erika Prasad, newly appointed Development Director of Loaves & Fishes,  who wrote this remarkable essay on behalf of the homeless, the hungry and the indigent poor of our Sacramento (CA) community.

Erika Prasad

“Stay home, stay home!”  What is home?

March 26, 2020

Dear Loaves & Fishes Community,

The last two weeks have been tough for you, me, and everyone. It feels as if we are all grasping for something to hold on to, to tell us there’s an end point to this global pandemic and economic crisis– and yet, we are seized in the dark. My job revolves around seeking resources, meeting deadlines, and checking off boxes. In my isolation, I admit that I even entertained the idea of when I’d get to check off the, “fundraising-during-a-global-pandemic box.” But the truth is, if I didn’t have the ability to wake up everyday and know that I am working for the mission of Loaves & Fishes to provide a welcome space that’s safe, hospitable, and clean for the least of our brothers and sisters, I don’t know what I would do with myself.

The stories I have heard from program directors on the front lines of direct service are both inspiring and heartbreaking. George, Friendship Park Program Director, recently relayed the message from our guest, Anthony, who wanted us to know that we are the only family he still has. And there are still breakfast groups like Girls Rock, dropping food off regardless of the circumstances. George ended our call with an alarming intimation; “We are putting our lives on the line.” 

Emerick, Dining Room Program Director, apprised me of how dire the circumstances are for our guests to receive access to food. He explained that since all restaurants and eateries have closed, there is no other way for guests to find a leftover meal or use public restrooms. We ended the call with an impossible question to answer: “Everybody is in a panic ‘stay home, stay home,’ but what is home for them?” Emerick retorted, “There is strength in numbers otherwise they can freeze to death.” Loaves & Fishes is truly an oasis in these times. For those of us who are entrenched everyday in the fight for justice, it is equally urgent for us to find our “Oases,” our spaces of healing and joy and laughter.

On Sunday night, my husband and I sang karaoke in our living room using YouTube as the lyric guide and our TV remote as the microphone. We laughed and were silly, and at the end of the night, we hugged each other —like most nights— except this time, we held on longer. We recognized the freedom to embrace each other in a time of “social distancing” and became overcome with emotion. It was in gratitude of the sacredness of touch, the anxieties of not knowing, and mourning an incredible loss for our human collective. Most importantly, we were reminded of the power to love.  

In the words of Bell Hooks, “The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.” It will be up to us, beloved community, to practice love and to show up for the many people who do not have shelter, a warm meal, or a place of respite. 

Thank you for your continued investment in running our programs and services for the least of our brothers and sisters. If you have any questions please contact me at: [email protected] or 916-637-2435.




Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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