Feeding the Hungry
Homeless Alachua County residents enjoyed a warm breakfast at the Seventh Annual Breakfast on the Plaza Nov. 4 courtesy of the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry. Representatives of the Coalition and other organizations that provide services for the homeless and more than 30 volunteers served scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, fresh fruit and baked goods to more than 100 needy individuals.
Public Service Law Fellows in the Center for Governmental Responsibility (CGR) had collected sweaters and blankets from the law school community for distribution at the breakfast.
UF law Center for Career Services Director Jessie Howell, Assistant Director Carol Kuczora, Coordinator Christina McCray and Public Service Law Fellow Tobi Butensky were among those helping to set up and serve the breakfast.
The annual event offers the homeless a reprieve from their lives on the street. In addition to food and clothing, people were given the opportunity to artistically express themselves on the main stage and around the plaza. A formerly homeless woman recited a poem about her new life as an educator and artist, while a man sang folk songs and played the guitar.
The student chapter of the National Art Education Association set up a booth for participants to paint ceramic bowls for the Empty Bowl Project, which raises money and food for the homeless, and other organizations offered services and information to the homeless in areas ranging from job placements to safety.
UF law graduate Shelbi Day spoke to the crowd about her efforts to decriminalize homelessness as part of her Equal Justice Works Fellowship at Southern Legal Counsel. Day focused on the civil and human rights violations that can result from the criminalization of homelessness, and discussed what Gainesville can do to start solving those problems.
Howell and CGR Staff Attorney Tim McLendon supervise the Public Service Law Fellows Program at the Levin College of Law. The positions are funded by the Florida Bar Foundation from IOTA funds, and fellows are placed with public service organizations in Gainesville. Serving as fellows this year are Brooke Bornick, Katie Brinson, Tobi Butensky and Whitney Untiedt.
Applications for the year-long fellowships are available at the end of each spring semester for the following year. For details, contact Howell in the Center for Career Services (392-0499) or McLendon in CGR (392-0427).