San Francisco

Brown Bag Outreach Hits Tenderloin/Civic Center Streets

San Francisco has an estimated homeless population of over 7,000, but making a connection with that population can be a challenge. That’s why Candice Tsegga, who lives in Oakland but works near the Tenderloin, came up with the idea of a community brown bag outreach. 

“The idea was first shared by a companion last year and reaffirmed last month while in conversation with an acquaintance,” she told us of her new project, which works to provide free lunches to homeless citizens in the Tenderloin and Civic Center area.

Candice put out a call to her community and received an overflow of donations of funds for the outreach, enough to make it a repeat event. The brown bag outreach was chosen as a simple way to connect with the homeless community. “The impoverished are often disregarded and I wanted to show compassion by providing a nutritious lunch,” she said. She also credits her faith with guiding her to the idea. Quoting Proverbs 22:9, she says "The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor."

Last month, we tagged along for for Candice's first Brown Bag Outreach project along with seven other volunteers (including two kids). Along the way, we met several homeless people who were grateful for the meal—which included turkey or peanut butter sandwiches, Kind bars, and carrots. 

Candice Tsegga.

Candice explains the plan of action to the volunteers.

Siyan, 6, and his mother Dona give a man a bag lunch. His advice to Siyan: “Stay in school.”

Jeremey, 12, and his mother Marta give food to a man who then gives Jeremey some sports advice. 

“People don’t realize it’s one thing to be dead, really dead, but it’s so terrible to be alive and still be dead. And I know what it feels to be the walking dead, " said Bonnie, 59, who has spent 47 years on the street.

“I’m a survivor,” Bonnie said proudly. She wants to get a job helping homeless people, especially those with HIV.

Next, the group headed over to Civic Center. Candice, Walter, Jasmine, and Siyan gather the rest of the lunches.

The volunteers walk to Civic Center. 

Jeremey hands a lunch to an older gentleman.

Siyan and Dona leave a lunch for a woman sleeping outside of the Civic Center BART station.

Candice plans to host the Outreach again this month, and volunteers are welcome. Check out her blog for updates. 

In the meantime, if you'd like to get more involved in homeless outreach, here are some places to start:


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