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For 37 years Loaves & Fishes has fed the hungry and provided survival services for the homeless and indigent poor in Sacramento CA.  For more than 20 years I served as Executive Director, Board Member and Homeless Breakfast Organizer for Loaves.   As I read Erika Prasad’s latest appeal letter, it brought tears to my eyes, this is personal for me, and I bring this to your attention.

Because of the Pandemic Virus the Loaves & Fishes staff have had to become first responders with all the associated risks of infection,  and the 1000  volunteers a month  who used to come to the campus to help provide these survival services are not permitted to do so until the shelter in place order is lifted.  For the past 40 days, the governor, the mayor, the board of supervisors have all announced during their press conferences  that because of the Pandemic Virus, those living on the streets cannot “shelter in place” and will be housed in hotels, travel trailers and other newly constructed shelters. They also proudly report that tens of millions of dollars have been appropriated to accomplish this – help is on the way, they say!  Again and again they say this! Tragic to report, Erika Prasad  reports that NOTHING has been done!  And so it goes!  The poorest of the poor, the outcasts of society ~ all children of God ~  are treated like  modern day lepers. Their suffering is beyond telling ~ and shameful!   –  LeRoy Chatfield, Publisher



How Much Time For Progress?

By Erika Prasad

April 14, 2020

Dear Loaves & Fishes Community,

I keep hoping to tell you good news; that everything is improving—that we’ll soon be able to stay open longer, embrace all of our volunteers again, or better yet, that our guests have been sheltered. At present, this is not the case and we don’t have an answer on when or if anything will ever be the same again.

On the drive to campus last week, I prayed that there would be less encampments lined up from Bannon Street to North B, because of local and state plans to shelter the unhoused in hotels. However, it was sobering to see that nothing had changed for the folks who experience homelessness, some without a tent, sleeping on a tarp or wrapped in a bedsheet.

While plans are seized somewhere in a bureaucratic gridlock, two people have contracted COVID-19, while unhoused. The human suffering that persists in our community is infuriating. For those who fight for justice, how much longer do we wait for progress? Or perhaps, it was James Baldwin who posed the question best, “You’ve always told me it takes time…how much time do you want for your ‘progress’?”

I am convinced what makes Loaves & Fishes so special, why so many of us are drawn to this sacred space— is because for the past 37 years we have carved out another way of living and seeing each other. It is a space where humanity and love take precedence over all else and the belief that every person, regardless of who they are, deserves the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

For these basic principles, we’ve been labeled as a “radical” organization. Our founders, Chris and Dan Delany, recognized a need that was not being met by the local government: to feed the hungry and poor. This need is still very much present in our community and instead of waiting for progress to come to us, we are resilient in our vision of enacting a more just and equitable society for those experiencing homelessness and poverty.

We continue to feed over 500 guests each day with an additional 200 lifesaving meals prepared for Sacramento Steps Forward to deliver to those sheltered in encampments. Additionally, we are providing hundreds of survival supplies, mental health services, and access to personal hygiene care each day.

To our extended community of supporters, we thank you in continuing to validate and nourish this space with our mission of belonging.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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