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As told by Mrs. June Davis
In 1986 I was teaching around 100 ladies in the Westbank Women’s Bible Study at Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church. A donut place called Rollin’ Donut offered the Bible study their day-old donuts for our refreshments. Now I enjoyed the treats that the small groups brought so I declined the offer, but we suggested to the church staff that the youth group take the donuts to the day laborers that were, at that time, standing on 2nd Street in downtown Austin waiting for jobs. The high schoolers declined. But we wanted to put the offer of free donuts to good use, so Elinor Reese, one of the staff of the church, and I decided to take the donuts down to the day laborers ourselves. We were walking three days a week on Town Lake (now Lady Bird Lake) anyway. We could just go a little early and take the donuts to the men. We began handing out the donuts in the name of Jesus Christ, talking to the men and getting to know them. Gradually we got to know some of the regulars on a first name basis - first names like Kid, Cowboy, Houston, Truck, and Kansas.
Shortly before Thanksgiving I was praying before Bible Study, and it came to me that we were supposed to feed the day laborers. (I learned that prayer and study results in faith in action.). I went directly to the Bible Study and suggested that we feed the men a Thanksgiving meal. They were very receptive. However when we told the men we would have a Thanksgiving meal for them at the church, many said, “We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.” Others said, “Why wait until then? - what we really need now is a place to shower and clean up.” At that time the old Salvation Army building was very limited on their number of showers and on their hot water.
I immediately realized that I had not listened well to God’s direction. Perhaps I had inserted Thanksgiving when God was prompting me that we should just feed them. If we fed them at the church, they could also shower there because our church had a large gym with showers for men as well as for women. A caravan of women and one man loaded up station wagons and vans and cars with 35 homeless people and transport them to our church gym for lunch and showers. We quickly realized an early breakfast would be better for them so they could return to their work corners for jobs.
This small beginning evolved to a breakfast program which included the opportunity to shower, receive fresh clean clothes from the clothes closet, get a free haircut, and free medical and dental appointments. The breakfast program began to provide us with a window of opportunity into the homeless population to see what their needs really were.
This tiny mustard seed beginning with day-old donuts being handed out on 2nd Street evolved into the Foundation for the Homeless which was incorporated in 1989.
Foundation for the Homeless does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors.
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