Thanks for all your support and votes.
My name is Juan De La Cruz and I am the director of the Grand Central Food Program.
It's a program that feeds the homeless out on the streets of New York City.
We feed 1,000 people a night, 365 days a year.
And the meal consists of a heavy stew, an orange, a piece of bread, milk and just a lot of care from the volunteers.
We go to where the clients are at.
The idea is to give them food, resources, and a little bit of hope and get them indoors if that's what they want.
In year's past, most of the clients were single males.
Recently, we are seeing more families who are coming out to see us.
Just the other night I was out in the Bronx and
there was a lot of single mothers who were out there with two, three, four kids coming to us at a time.
If you're down and out, they love you anyway. They're the nicest people in the world.
The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation's oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized.
The Coalition operates 11 direct service programs that address every facet of homelessness, providing emergency food and clothing, crisis services, permanent housing, job training and programs for youth to more than 3,500 homeless and low-income men, women and children each day. At the same time, the Coalition's groundbreaking advocacy work gives voice to the disenfranchised and champions the fiscally sound, housing-based solutions that will end mass homelessness once and for all. Since our founding more than 35 years ago, we have given more than one million people a way off the streets.
The Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1981, following our first legal victory, Callahan v. Carey, which established the right to shelter for homeless adult men - a crucial first step in our subsequent victories on behalf of homeless women and children. Since then, the Coalition has won a string of legal actions including securing medically appropriate housing for people living with HIV/AIDS and ensuring the right to vote for Americans without homes.
The Coalition's model frontline programs were subsequently developed to bring lifesaving support to those in greatest need. We meet homeless men, women and children where they are, helping them obtain emergency food, access to shelter and other services while they are in crisis; apply for benefits; find housing; stave off eviction; receive the job training they need to find living wage employment; and have summer and afterschool programing that allow kids to learn, grow and have fun. We are the place where those who have been turned away everywhere else can come and receive compassionate and professional help.