I am passionate about living life with an attitude of ’always learning’. If we approach another, especially those we consider different from ourselves, with an openness and curiosity we have an opportunity to enlarge our own understanding of ourselves...of one another... of life...of the world.
The Tenderloin is a neighborhood known for having some of the highest rates for violence and drug activity in the beautiful city of San Francisco. In these dark streets, two women are shining a light on the issues of poverty and need. Faithful Fools Street Ministry is an educational and charitable organization founded and run by Carmen Barsody and Kay Jorgensen. Their purpose is simple: acknowledge each human’s incredible worth and shatter myths regarding those living in poverty. This manifests through a variety of programs spanning arts, education, advocacy, and accompaniment.
When Faithful Fools approached World Centric with a request for a product donation to replace the styrofoam they were using, we were happy to assist them in becoming more sustainable. Carmen, co-founder and resident at the “Fool’s Court” (home of Faithful Fools), took a few minutes to share with us about their work.
Faithful Fools offers assistance to people in a wide range of ways. What is the greatest need you see among the people you work with?
Beyond assistance with the basic needs of supportive relationships, housing, and food, people need to be seen as a person; not a “homeless” person, a “mentally ill” person, an “addicted” person, or a “poor” person, but just a person with worth and dignity. All of us are human and all of us have a story.
One of your programs, in conjunction with San Francisco Night Ministry
, is to feed those living on the streets in the Tenderloin. What makes this program significant to you?
To share a meal is a natural way to bring people together. Night Ministry provides meals at times when the larger institutions do not. Most places serve a noon meal but Night Ministry operates from 10pm-4am. Plus there is an interest in serving nutritious meals rather than foods that fill one up with just starches.
World Centric is thrilled to be able to provide the tableware for these dinners. How else can we, and others, get involved?
It would be great to have folks join us for any of our programs and/or to come do a Street Retreat
with us. A retreat is a day spent on the streets, paying attention to our assumptions, judgments, fears, and personal experiences that arise as we walk. It was our "founding act" as Faithful Fools. Since 1998 we have had more than 5,000 people participate in street retreats with us. It is a great way to ground us in our understanding of ourselves and our experiences as we open ourselves to a relationship with people and places we often are encouraged to stay away from.
To get involved with Faithful Fools email Carmen at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Fools Court at 234 Hyde Street in San Francisco.