Recently a handful of Rising Star student athletes spent the evening volunteering with New York’s Homeless Bus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing food and other basic necessities for the area’s homeless population. Rising Star’s founder Paul Savramis says having the opportunity to see the long lines of men, women, and children waiting for food and supplies was a meaningful experience to the young volunteers.
Q: What is the Homeless Bus?
Paul Savramis: The Homeless Bus was founded in 1992 by Director Mark Landgrebe and his wife Anna after the couple attended a seminar that introduce them to a program in Hawaii that fed homeless people during the holidays. Today, the Homeless Bus serves a warm meal and provides essentials such as socks and personal sized toiletries to New York City’s homeless population.
Q: How widespread is the issue of homelessness throughout New York City?
Paul Savramis: Within the city limits, there are more than 60,000 individuals without a dedicated bed to sleep each night. More than one third of these – 22,000 – are children.
Q: How many people were served on July 29 with the help of Rising Stars?
Paul Savramis: We’ve calculated that the bus was able to accommodate the dietary needs of at least 300 individuals. Pio Costa Enterprises in Fairfield donated 500 cheeseburgers to help fill bellies for the evening. In addition to serving food, our boys and girls passed out brand new socks – an often overlooked luxury among the homeless – to their new friends.
Q: Why is it important to educate children about community issues, like homelessness?
Paul Savramis: Without exposure to the best and worst of the world, today’s children, who are tomorrow’s decision-makers, won’t have any real direction as they enter adulthood and take on leadership roles. Having the opportunity to get to know the problems of one’s own community helps bring people together and gives our children a renewed perspective on their own situations.