Hunger Affects Veterans Too

21 Feb

HOMELESS VETS IN LOMPOC

Recently I visited the City of Lompoc and met with Shawndell Malcolm, who is the CEO of Planting-A-Seed, a Lompoc non-profit that aims to be a support to those without stable housing. Their team prides itself on “planting seeds” of kindness and generosity with each individual that they aid, hoping to instill an atmosphere of empathy.

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Shawndell Malcolm

Shawndell has lived in Lompoc since 1986 and served in the U.S. Marines. His own father was homeless for a prolonged period, which helped sharpen Shawndell’s ability to understand and help the many homeless vets and others in his city. He estimates there are about 100 homeless in shelters, 100 still living in the riverbed, 60+ living in their cars and many more couch surfing or in hotels.

What may surprise you is that many of these homeless people are working, yet still struggle to get into any kind of permanent housing. There is very little housing in the area.

I had arranged to meet Darrell Mann who had been homeless, sleeping on the streets for four years and who had recently got into supportive housing, but as you see from the pictures below, they are not exactly palaces.

 

Unfortunately, I missed Darrell and wasn’t sure where he was. He has been in his apartment for only two weeks so he is still adjusting.  The electrical sockets that hooks up his stove and refrigerator currently are not working, so many challenges remain for him and for all the homeless.

It has been helpful for me during my Food Security Challenge to meet others who have previously or currently struggle with food insecurity, because it is too easy to forget.

As I wrap up another challenge, it’s my job not to forget.

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