I would like to offer an alternative perspective to a Sound Off letter published Aug. 31. Let me begin by saying that I do not live in Taft and have not spoken to the neighbors around St. Andrews where Shar-on feeds the hungry. However, I do serve on the Board of Directors and have known Shari Rightmer for several years. She is not perfect; she has made her share of mistakes in the past. However, she keeps trying.
For three years, every day, Shar-on has prepared and served food to the hungry. Now working with another organization, showers, toiletry kits and clothes are handed out every other week. Shari and her team once gleaned food from the local markets every day, making dishes that day’s gleaning allowed. Now weekly contributions from the Golden Empire Gleaners have permitted Shar-on greater access to food and a more stable source. Every day the organization feeds home cooked meals to the homeless and hungry on a meager monthly budget. Shari is not compensated at all.
Shari never declared to have a solution to the homeless problem in Taft or anywhere else. She is just trying to do something to help people. She is attempting to raise the individual’s self-esteem through meeting basic needs, providing an opportunity to serve and a few creative programs. She is hoping that a few people will catch a bigger idea about what is possible and make changes in their lives.
The Sound Off contributor claims that she and her civic group are waiting to see results of Shari’s commitment to serve the community. Well the homeless and hungry are part of your community. If you want to see results, it is on display at 5:30 p.m. every night at St. Andrews. You are welcome to stay and eat.
The contributor also says there is help for the homeless in Bakersfield. She is certainly aware that Bakersfield is 40 minutes by car and the people we are talking about have no cars or resources to travel to Bakersfield, so I am confused about what she is offering?
Shari is trying to make a difference with what she has: measly financial resources, a handful of volunteers and a lot of heart. My question to the rest of us is what are we doing?
Dan Harrison, Bakersfield