The Sierra Roots program began with sandwiches, water, and fruit being served once a week to our homeless population. This had the long-term advantage of our getting to know these homeless citizens and their needs. We were guided in learning how best to understand and approach our chronically homeless population by Jay Levy’s book, Pretreatment Guide for Homeless Outreach and Housing First. We immediately saw that personal interaction and friendship were a more lasting, if slower, way to help bring the homeless individual back into society with dignity and acceptance. In short, homeless persons began to work WITH us, and to help their fellow homeless friends get the assistance they needed. A real community began to form.
In 2012 Sierra Roots began providing a hot, nutritious meal once a week, and we moved to Pioneer Park throughout the summer. In addition to weekly lunches, Sierra Roots began to offer homeless persons clothes, toiletries and non-perishable food to take with them. If they needed batteries, new shoes, tarps, tents, lanterns or other things, they requested them when they signed in before eating. We made the decision on an individual basis to provide what we could to make their lives more livable in the uninhabitable places they lived without a home.