SLM began in 2001 at the downtown Menlo Park train station. Today, due to the help of many people, it now serves over 35,000 meals a year, five nights a week, in Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Redwood City. For 20 years SLM gatherings have built a reputation as the one consistent place the homeless can count on. Whether it is a holiday, a cloudy or rainy day, SLM never varies from the set schedule, giving the homeless a stable option throughout the year.
SLM is an established 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a board of directors, and is very different from many “feeding ministries.” It serves a unique role in the way it cares for the homeless and the hungry in San Mateo/Santa Clara Counties. Hot, home cooked meals served in outdoor venues are less threatening for our homeless neighbors, fostering a safe environment for relational connections to develop with the SLM leaders and volunteers. These connections build trust for guiding homeless friends toward healthier decisions, medical assistance, detox, rehab, housing, mentorship and counseling. In addition to food and encouragement, SLM provides clothing, toiletry kits, sleeping bags, medical supplies, temporary shelter, recovery services and job assistance to those in need.
SLM is also unique because it places its staff and its services “in the streets”, and “in the camps”, where the homeless live. It reaches more homeless people directly in those street locations than traditional professional service agencies. Additionally, no other homeless non-profit in the area provides local residents with the large number (over 6000 hours per year, estimated) of volunteer hours of opportunity to meet directly and be served on a face to face basis as we do. Homeless folks need love, care, trustworthy friends, and reliable, regular support to improve and/or recover. SLM is “in the trenches and on the street” every day, helping our homeless neighbors. SLM’s outreach can be accessed at all hours of the day and night.