There are currently four homeless ministry groups at Point Loma Nazarene University that meet throughout the week to distribute meals and form relationships with the homeless communities in San Diego.
Bread of Life is one of the groups that meets every Tuesday evening to prepare meals from 5 to 6 p.m and distribute them from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The three club leaders, Second-year Applied Health Science major Jack Fischer, Second-year Social Work major Ella Gulbrandson, Fourth-year Child Development major Faith Phillips, and volunteer, Second-year Applied Health Science major Lauren Mayhew discuss their experience leading Bread of Life.
The Point: How did you first get involved with Homeless Ministries?
Jack Fischer: Last year, a friend of mine invited me and I continued to show up because I have learned a lot about the disadvantaged community.
Faith Phillips: I first got involved with Homeless Ministries around November of 2022.
Ella Gulbrandson: I went to Bread of Life the first Tuesday of my freshman year and have been to mostly all of them as a volunteer and now as a leader.
Lauren Mayhew: I was introduced to Homeless Ministries my second semester of freshman year and have loved being a part of the club ever since.
TP: Why did you want to be a club leader?
JF: My friend who initially introduced me to the club pushed me to apply. I really just aspire to facilitate the ministry and be involved with doing good in the community.
EG: Bread of Life was the place where I found community when I was struggling to find it. It was always a highlight of my week and felt natural to me to step into a leadership role this year.
FP: I knew that I wanted to be a leader when I saw the impact that this group had not only on our unsheltered friends downtown, but also on our volunteers.
TP: How has Bread of Life impacted you as a person?
JF: I learned so much about many hard things in life through this club. No other advice or wisdom has had as much of an impact on me as this ministry has.
EG: Serving this overlooked population of people is a constantly humbling experience. It reminds me of my own privileges that make my life experience different but also that we are all humans who feel heartbreak and crave to feel loved.
FP: This leadership opportunity has helped me grow immensely and increase my responsibility and empathy skills.
LM: My perspective has changed after experiencing real and authentic conversations with the homeless that show their intelligence and humanity.
TP: How has the club impacted the unhoused individuals you’ve encountered?
JF: Our impact is derived from communing with our neighbors to build relationships, rather than fixing their problems. Many people downtown are isolated and go days without talking to others, so I believe our presence provides a little momentary relief and peace to them.
EG: The food and coffee we offer are only temporary nourishment but I hope the sweet moments of interaction stay with those we serve and make them feel loved, seen and cared for.
FP: The consistency is what impacts them the most. We get to see the same people each week and learn more about them.
LM: Through building relationships with our downtown friends, we have a unique opportunity to direct them towards Jesus.
TP: What is your most memorable experience from the ministry?
JF: Conversing with our familiar friends downtown and many others is a weekly highlight for me.
EG: A man once told me that “the world might be a better place without us homeless people,” which made me speechless. I reassured him as best as I could that he was so loved by us but at the end of the day, I had to leave him with no real answer. It was a conversation that I will take with me until the day I die.
FP: I had an amazing conversation with a couple one evening that deeply impacted me. Each week is unique and I am so blessed to be in this position.
LM: After meeting with a recovering addict who was homeless, she proceeded to tell me her desires for the future in both staying clean and pursuing a career in cosmetology. I greatly appreciated her hopefulness and honesty.
No act is too small to bless those in need. For additional information, email email@example.com.
Written By: Megan Lonsdale