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Chico group helps hungry residents in need

CHICO, Calif - Earlier this week Action News Now reported on a story of how some feel that feeding the homeless may actually be hurting them.

Posted: Mar. 12, 2018 12:23 AM
Updated: Mar. 12, 2018 9:32 AM

CHICO, Calif - Earlier this week Action News Now reported on a story of how some feel that feeding the homeless may actually be hurting them.

One group said that's not the case.

Susana Boxall is one of many volunteers who decided she wants to help the homeless hanging around Chico Plaza.

"The fact that I was seeing so much suffering in the streets was concerning me," Boxall said.

She decided to join the group, “Chico Friends of the Street,” which was founded by Patrick Newman two years ago.

"Instead of focusing on whatever the solutions might be, I focus on the fact there's going to be several hundred people on our streets every day, how are we going to treat them,' Newman said.

And he's decided to treat them respectfully and to be generous with them.

"To be on the street and feel like an outcast, to feel unloved every day, is not a good thing. They’re going to be among us and why fight this war, why not accept them and try and be as kind and generous as we can," Newman said.

Every week the groups give the homeless free toiletries, food and clothing because they don’t want them to be deprived.

"Seeing people on the streets is uncomfortable for us. Well, it ought to be uncomfortable for us. That doesn't give us the right to coerce people into going to one place. I think the more widely we distribute things and the more we integrate people into our community, the better that is for our democracy and the better that is for them," Newman said. 

Boxall and Newman both believe that the government has to do more to provide more housing and services for the homeless, and until they do the number of those living on the street will only increase.

They believe that demonizing the homeless is not the solution.

"Bring some food, bring some drinks and just share it with these folks and you realize that there really is nothing to fear and Chico is still a place that we can co-exist and you can bring your family down to the plaza and you'll be safe," Boxall said.

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