Thursday, April 10, 2008

Help Save The Haight Ashbury Food Program!

I live in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury District.

I LOVE my neighborhood.

It has a long and colorful history... Some might say "Psychedelic".

One of the things I've cherished about its history is the solid record of the immense compassion and social activism of the Haight-Asbury's residents.

From Dr. Smith, who founded the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in the 1960's; to the Haight Ashbury Food Program, founded in the 1980's; to the Haight Ashbury Youth Outreach Team... my little microcosm could teach the rest of the world a great deal about Tolerance, Compassion and Integrity...

Well, it could do that up until rather recently.

A few years ago... Stupid and unjust internal politics and a $ Million Dollar embezzlement by the CFO at the Free Clinic's home office have led to many long-term health providers leaving (They are Truly Incredible People... I know this because I worked with them for a year) and to the organization having to sell off some of its properties... at a loss.
Not only that... Thanks to their shenanigans... The "Free Clinic" has been put into the position of having to ask clients - who are there because they have no health insurance and no money - to help offset the cost of their visit.
They've also had to shut down some of the desperately needed services they provided to San Franciscans in need.
The Free Clinic itself has been such a Godsend to so many people for decades...
It's really very sad to see how so few out of touch people in upper management have done such a f'd up job of things as to put the Clinic in the hard spot it's in.

Mind you, Dr. Smith had nothing to do with these problems.
I feel very bad for him. He's had to watch his selfless gift to San Francisco get beaten up and driven into the ground.

There's the Haight Ashbury Food Program.
It was founded in the early 1980's.
They've not only provided homeless and housed people who couldn't afford good food with hot meals that tasted great, along with salads and... even dog food for their dogs (These were Incredible People, too!)...
They had a program where they would teach people how to cook and to run a kitchen, thereby providing them with the skills to possibly find work and no longer be homeless!
They had a varied menu and they served the meals every weekday from 11am to 1pm from inside a church on Waller Street.
There's this Great Lady named Judy who's worked there for many years.
She is a woman of endless kindness, compassion and motivation to help those in need.
She's still there... But the Program is in Dire Straits... and I do mean Dire.

Ahh, the Good Ol' Days!

Suddenly and without any warning, I heard this week that the Program is in Trouble with a Capital "T".
They are no longer serving sit down meals to the many homeless and hungry people who've come to depend upon this resource for a genuinely healthy meal and some friendly faces.
A reliable source - who knows the disheartening details - tells me that they have been handing out bag lunches instead... and doing so only three days out of the week, instead of five.

That's not all, folks!

I was shocked to also learn that HAFP had shut down the Chef's Training Program weeks ago... although the HAFP website - as of 04/09/08 - doesn't acknowledge this glaring omission.

My source informs me that these destructive and despicable changes have occured only after some NIMBY Infiltrator named Michael got himself elected as Executive Director of the twenty-five year old Program (just over one year ago.).

My source tells me that Michael has been flying around the country, going to meetings and lectures... portraying himself as Super-Duper Non-Profit Executive Guy... whilst the Haight-Ashbury Food Program he's Corrupt Captain of has been cruelly (and criminally?) neglected and secretly Strangled To Death.

Our mensch Michael gets paid $60-something,000 dollars a year for his 'service' to the community.
(What %@*&-ing service?!... Destroying the Food Program?! You gotta be Kidding!)

I also hear from my source that Michael says the Program is out of money... But, when compassionate community members/residents and community-minded local businesses stepped up and offered to finance the Program (More Incredible People who've likely been members of our Community longer than Michael)... He Turned Them Down!!

Apparently, Michael wants to shut down the Program this Friday (04/11/08)... he apparently has claimed that he intends to move it to another (unknown) location and to re-open it at another time...
(Like WHERE, Michael? Seriously. If he's allowed to close it down... re-opening is Not Likely to Happen.)

There have also been claims made that the Wonderful Hamilton Church that has been home to the Program for years and years wants the Program out and off of it's property...
When inquiries were made as to the veracity of these claims...They are refuted by the Church.
(Basically... It was a LIE.)

Then, there's Dear Saint Judy...
My source says Judy was told that, if she played nice and kept quiet until Friday...
She'd recieve a month's severance pay...
I think Judy's been with the Program for a decade or two...

Judy deserves much better... The Enlightened Souls who founded the Program deserve much better... My Neighborhood deserves much better... and the many men, women and children (... and dogs) who have and do rely on 'the soup kitchen' for sustenance in a very harsh world Really Deserve Much Better!

How Dare some damn gentrifying Yuppies or Intolerant Boobs move into OUR NEIGHBORHOOD -
A Neighborhood that has long sought to help ease the suffering of those less fortunate, instead of treating them like shit on their shoes -
and then decide they can't stand the sight of homeless people (and don't you dare complain that they 'smell'... since it was some long-time homeless hater's facist widow that got the only shower service available to them in our neighborhood shut down.)...
And they've realized that complaining to the police doesn't seem to work 'cause wasting officers' time making homeless people keep moving doesn't get rid of them...
So, they decided, "Eureka! I'll just join the Boards of various neighborhood service organizations and drive them into the ground from the inside!"

Talk about "Evil-Doers" and "Enemy Combatants"!

I Hate those people.

If you don't like Our Colorful Neighborhood with it's housed and un-housed residents...



Please Call/Write/Cajole//Twist the Arms of/Apply Pressure To:

Mayor Gavin Newsom:

City Hall, Room 200
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160

Michael Scribner (the "Michael")
Executive Director

The President of HAFP: Jennifer Sramek:
or (415)370-3292

Take A Stand Against Intolerance and NIMBYism and Grab As Many People As You Can And Come to the Hamilton Church (In San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury. At Waller Street and Belvedere.) on FRIDAY (Tomorrow!) at 11 am to PROTEST This Despicable Attempt to Destroy Forever Another Life-Saving Community Resource that Feeds Hundreds of People in Need!

Thank YOU So Much!

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