2023 is turning out to be the year of the atmospheric river. Storm after storm has been rolling in and punishing the low-lying areas. Many cities have stepped up and opened warming shelters, community centers, and other services for those affected by the weather. This has allowed our friends who live on the street to continue to attend our meal and fellowship services around the bay, even if they have temporarily relocated.

Speaking of our meal and fellowship services, we would like you to meet a couple that has been cooking and serving food with us for over ten years! Hereโ€™s a conversation we had with Michi and John Thivierge from Sequoia Church.

2023 is turning out to be the year of the atmospheric river. Storm after storm has been rolling in and punishing the low-lying areas. Many cities have stepped up and opened warming shelters, community centers, and other services for those affected by the weather. This has allowed our friends who live on the street to continue to attend our meal and fellowship services around the bay, even if they have temporarily relocated.

Speaking of our meal and fellowship services, we would like you to meet a couple that has been cooking and serving food with us for over ten years! Hereโ€™s a conversation we had with Michi and John Thivierge from Sequoia Church.

Itโ€™s a gray Sunday morning in the Redwood City lot. Guitar music is floating out of the loudspeakers and everyone is dressed for the cold. Michi and John are standing behind their portable gas grill with a line of hungry people stretching off to the right. John pours pancake batter onto the hot surface while Michi flips the cakes as soon as they stop bubbling. A small pile of steaming pancakes is loaded onto the waiting paper plate and the dance begins again.

Did you know itโ€™s never rained on us? Michi asks. Ten-twelve years weโ€™ve been doing this, always on the last Sunday of the month. Weโ€™ve had days where it was raining when we got here, they did the message, they did the preaching, and when they finished the message the sun came out so we could serve food. It was beautiful! So we, Michi gestures towards John with her spatula, have never been rained on. And it would be difficult with rain on our grill! she laughs. Weโ€™ve been really blessed.

We started doing this through Sequoia Church and now weโ€™re also volunteering with The Samaritan House and this is how itโ€™s grown! We started out cooking food at the church and bringing it over. Our boys are Boy Scouts and we do cookouts on camping trips so one day John had the idea of doing pancakes here at Street Life. So at the next meal event, we brought a camp stove and made pancakes and it was a hit!

John reaches down and raps his knuckles on the sheet metal sides of the grill. Costco had this one on sale, we grabbed the griddle attachment and here we are! Michi loads up another plate of pancakes as the line slowly gets shorter. We got involved when David put out a call for servers. We were with Sequoia Church then and started attending the Menlo Park events on Tuesday and Thursday nights and just being regular servers. And then several of us serving there said โ€œHey maybe we should offer to cook a meal.โ€ We started cooking meals at Church Without Walls and ended up here. Michi said.

One of the problems with hunger is distribution. Itโ€™s not a supply issue, thereโ€™s plenty of food around here. Itโ€™s just getting it to the right place at the right time. John added. Being out here gets you out of your bubble. If you can satisfy their physical needs just a little bit, well itโ€™s the least we can do.

The last of the pancakes were put on plates and wrapped in foil. The volunteers began cleaning up their stations and John Thivierge started to dismantle the grill. As the meal and fellowship were closed down for the day, the first rain drops began to fall.

Please bring donations to 1300 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City between 6-6:30 pm
any Mon, Wed or Fri. Or write to info@streetlifeministries.org.

Kevโ€™s Korner

What’s up, my friends? Glad to see you’ve made it into March with me. It’s been raining, flooding, and hailing for what seems like years, but I believe we’re all made of stronger stuff. We got this. This month I got a few new thoughts, and since you know the drill – top off that coffee, find a comfortable place, and strap in – I’m gonna take you for another ride…

Someone asked me a week or two ago why I always tell folks I love them. Believe it or not, there’s actually a reason behind that. I never want my friends to wonder how I feel about them. One day (hopefully not anytime soon) I might be unable to let them know. I always want at least that one question to be answered. There will come a day when Tyrannosaurus Kev no longer walks this earth, and on that day, I want you all to know deep in your hearts and minds that you were loved unabashedly. That we connected, and it was awesome. So, that’s why I do that…

We are getting new faces. I mean, a LOT of new faces. Homelessness is a mudda, and it appears that it never takes a day off. As the storms have hit, I’ve become increasingly disturbed that the folks I care so much about are literally fighting for their lives to survive the onslaught we’ve been experiencing. A rainstorm is a much bigger deal to someone that lives in a tent. Remember the winds we’ve been having? It destroyed our food tent on the Lot. Nothing but twisted broken metal. If it can do that to our food tent, just imagine what it can do to someone trying to survive in a tent. The picture isn’t too pretty…

So, as of today, I have not lit a cigarette – nor smoked one – since the end of January. I still keep my vaporizer close ( I call it my Woobie ), but my need for it is becoming less and less. Still have some big triggers at Street Life with it all, but I think I’m doing pretty good. I had a plan, and I followed it through. Overall, I think it went better than I anticipated, as I didn’t get attitudinal about it all…

The Lot has been pretty swampy lately. Mostly the part right after you get through the gate. When you walk in, smart money’s on cutting to the right a bit before heading to the Worship Tent. It’s been tough on the cars, and especially for the Food Van, so when you see our drivers, let them know how appreciated they are. Also, all this rain hasn’t stopped our Volunteers from showing up one bit. I’m real proud of seeing all the teens and ‘tweens that have been helping us get hot chocolate distributed, as well as plating up food for our hungry folks. Thanks to all of you…

Lord, we’ve been doing our level best to honor you by keeping this Ministry running like a well oiled machine. Sometimes we do better than others, but I honestly feel like you understand that. I know You come to our Lot often, and I know You hear our prayers. Please keep my friends safe through this weather. Show them they are never truly alone because they have You, Father, and that You are never far away. Watch over us and guide us to keep us out of harm’s way. All that we do is for Your Glory, Lord. Amen.

See you on the streets.