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A line of people patiently waiting for a hot meal on a cold day might be common in some areas, but the line expected in front of Mulvaney’s B&L Feb. 19 will likely be full of the kind of people who are used to being waited on – and the $25 they fork over for a bowl of soup will help those in need.
“The $25 they spend for their bowl will go entirely to the kitchens at Loaves & Fishes and St. John’s Shelter,” said Lead Pastor Michael Mervine of the L19 Community Church, which is partnering with the charities and Mulvaney’s B&L for the event.
Mervine added that each $25 purchase will pay for a cauldron of soup that can be used to feed 25 to 30 people in the shelters.
He said that he, the Mulvaneys and shelter workers are hoping to see a line of people stretching around the block, and that it will be full of those who haven’t stood in line for a meal.
“I’d like to see maybe the guy who lives in the lofts above and makes $600,000 a year experiencing standing in line,” Mervine said.
The idea is not just to raise money, but help people empathize with the plight of those who are experiencing homelessness – a term Mervine said he prefers to “homeless people,” as homelessness does not define who they are.
The soup will be provided by at least 10 local chefs, including chefs from Mulvaney’s B&L, and Mervine said no details on what soups will be offered were available Friday, but that he expects them to be on par with what Mulvaney’s B&L typically offers its sit-down customers.
Janet Green, outreach development director for Loaves & Fishes, said Wednesday that the visual of everyday citizens standing in line for their food will serve as a conversation-starter for those who drive past or hear about it.
“It brings a little bit of awareness to what the homeless go through when you see faces that are not traditionally the stereotypical faces you expect to see waiting in a line,” she said. “These people will be dressed nicely, and it’s going to be great to bring awareness of what’s happening.”
Homelessness in Sacramento is an ongoing struggle, with the most recent debacle being a letter from the United Nations last week warning Sacramento officials that the human rights of the homeless are being violated by having inadequate water and restroom facilities.
“That should really highlight the need,” Mervine said Friday. “Why can’t we find a campsite that works? This isn’t some backwater in Mississippi – but they probably have a better living condition in a Mississippi backwater. It certainly brings light to the issue.”
More than $300 has already been donated by members of L19 Community Church – which started about one year ago and holds services in the Pig on the Corner next-door to Mulvaney’s B&L Sunday mornings. The small congregation – those attending services typically number about 25 – often includes those who are homeless, and Mervine said the church makes every effort to aid them.
“I’d love it if we could raise $2,500,” he said. “I don’t think we will get 1,000 people out here, but people can definitely donate more than $25.”
Green said she hopes to see a long line for the duration of the two-hour event.
“I hope people have to wait an amount of time that will give them the ‘aha’ factor,” she said.
All children who come to the event eat free, with the event flier proclaiming that “kids should never have to worry where their next meal is coming from.”
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 19, and no reservations or tickets are necessary, Mervine said, adding that simply showing up at the corner of 19th and L streets is sufficient.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.