The disorderly actions of a few will prevent almost 80 homeless people from getting a hot meal on Thursday night.
More and more island residents seeking a hot meal are showing up at the Ministry for the Homeless in Hagåtña. And while those that serve the homeless population are doing what they can to stave off hunger in the community, Father Mike Crisostomo told K57’s Patti Arroyo that incidences involving drunk individuals have escalated and now the volunteers are afraid for their safety.
“We’ve been having a lot of drink people coming over, partaking, of course, and causing trouble. Then one of them last night pulled out a knife and so our staff are very concerned and especially the families. Our volunteers that prepare meals … you know we have like Christian Mothers … so they’re scared to come over and serve now because of that type of situation,” Crisostomo said.
The Ministry for the Homeless provides hot meals every night to 60 to 80 homeless individuals. This number has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Crisostomo. But because of the actions of a knife-wielding man and drunk individuals, those in need of a hot meal won’t get any tonight.
“It’s a downer because we want to continue to provide service to our people and to the homeless but the individuals like this that cause this type of destruction in service. So tonight we are not serving and it’s really just a deterrent.
The suspension is just for tonight and the Ministry of Health anticipates resuming services on Friday. Crisostomo says they are considering providing “to-go” bags instead of hot meals if the volunteers are not able to cook or serve.
“We were talking about suspending services because of the safety of our staff. Many of them on the board feel that maybe it’s not a good option at this time to stop services because this may just cause another social issue or a social concern. We really wanted to continue the ministry to be able to help our homeless at this time but you know you have to cooperate with us as well,” Crisostomo said.
Crisostomo says that the “to go” bags consist of canned goods donated to the food bank.