Our first program is our largest. It started in the kitchen of a friend's home with a couple of people making pb&j sandwiches. It has grown and transformed into a crew of volunteers, virtually all of whom are homeless, and have acquired their legal food-handlers permits. We serve delicious, lovingly prepared hot meals daily to whoever is hungry. We serve between 45 to over 100 meals each night. Taft has gone through some tough economic times, and lately, we are seeing more hungry people than usual.
All the food is donated, and all the prep, serving and clean-up is handled by volunteers who, not so long ago, were on the other side of the serving line. Food is essential to Sandwich Social, but it is only the beginning. The people who come to eat each evening are truly loved, respected, and appreciated. When they step onto the Campus, they enter a judgment-free atmosphere. We have Campus rules that everyone agrees to, and to be on Campus, those rules must be respected.
Our experience working with homeless and marginalized members of society is that when there is consistency, when the basic need for survival is handled, when they are treated with dignity, that the people who used to show up for a handout more times than not, want to give back. They become volunteers who contribute to the welfare of the community, and to others. We see this happen every single day.
Hot Meals Served Daily 5:30-6:30pm
703 5th Street, Taft, CA
DOIN' GOOD FOR NOTHING (DGFN)
You may have seen them around town. A happy group of people in bright green or purple shirts cleaning an alley or picking litter up off the street.
No program shows the impact of what happens when people are treated with respect, are loved and well-fed than the DGFN program. The program was the brainchild of one of our collective members. The idea is simple. Locate places around Taft that can use some cleaning up, and let the strictly volunteer crew do a great job cleaning up. It is a very rewarding way that people in the program feel they can give something back.
This innovative program was brought to Shar-On by the Taft Police Department. They noticed that far too often people issued tickets for minor violations didn't make their court dates. That is because the court is in Lamont, 46 miles away and transportation can be a barrier to appearing on the court date. When that happens a bench-warrant is issued. Now a simple infraction has turned into a much bigger problem.
The solution is that the local police will assign court dates only on certain days of the month and then Shar-On can facilitate transportation for the people who cannot get to court any other way. With Court Cab, everyone wins.
COURT CAB IS TEMPORARILY ON HOLD UNTIL THE COVID-19 VIRUS CRISIS HAS ENDED
SUPPORT GROUPS / SELF DISCOVERY
We host AA and NA support groups on the St. Andrew's Campus. These are weekly meetings and open to the community. We also offer gatherings where we discuss the power of choice. We explore the choices participants have made, the consequences of their actions, and discuss the opportunity to make more positive and productive choices.
CLASSES / EDUCATION
In the right environment, people flourish. We offer a variety of classes from art to dance, to music and more. All classes are free to the public and taught by people within the Taft community and from our own homegrown talent pool.
SHOWERS & SHAVES
A local Faft organization called Hell Fighters has partnered with Shar-On to offer showers and haircuts to our community. Hell Fighters brings in the portable showers and local hairstylist volunteers to shave and cut hair at the St. Andrew's Campus. Clean clothes and hygiene kits are also distributed at that time. This program is offered twice a month.