It’s Christmas morning and I’m at Loaves and Fishes to photograph the holiday meal. It is really cold! There is no thermostat for adjusting the heat when you are homeless and living on the street. Many homeless are beginning to stir in nearby areas, rolling up thin sleeping bags and crawling out from makeshift shelters constructed of cardboard and plastic sheeting.
The dining room doors will soon open. A hot ham and turkey dinner is being served, Christmas stockings given to guests, and all receive warm holiday greetings from Loaves and Fishes staff and volunteers. Today, the dining room also provides shelter, a short respite from the bitter cold.
I find that black and white images of the homeless speak loudly about both conditions and needs. I also feel that in some instances images provide windows to the heart, soul and minds of those photographed.
Every Christmas season, Loaves & Fishes hosts activities to celebrate our guests, many of whom have nowhere to go for the holidays. We believe that everyone deserves to celebrate during this time, and do our best to help make the holiday season a bit brighter for our guests.
With the help of generous individuals and groups, Loaves & Fishes is able to provide toys, Christmas, stockings, warm clothing, and hot meals to those who would otherwise go without this Christmas.
A very special event that we hold each year at Loaves & Fishes is our Maryhouse Christmas Brunch. During brunch, we are able to honor the women and families who visit Maryhouse, our daytime shelter for women and children. This year, volunteers and staff served a delicious hot meal to guests, and photographers from the community volunteered to take photographs of women and families. Our guests were then given photographs to keep, or share with loved ones.
Below is a gallery of photographs from this year’s Christmas Brunch. Special thanks to Gale Filter, Theodore Goodwin, and Doug Winter for volunteering their time and talent to Loaves & Fishes and our guests!