OCEANSIDE — A small community outreach group organized by local nonprofit Rising Hearts is feeding the homeless and unhoused twice a week in North County.
The group, #EveryTuesdayandFriday, created by Kimberly Pierce and Amanda White, started on a whim two years earlier during COVID-19 quarantine on the popular “Buy Nothing” Facebook page, where people swap or donate unwanted items — food, clothes, toys, electronics— at no cost.
After six months, Pierce and White kicked the outreach efforts into full swing with help from their friend Kathryn Van Wetering, serving more than 100 meals, five days per week, to individuals experiencing homelessness.
Today, the group’s goal is simple — to provide individuals in need with hot and cold meals, snacks and pantry items every Tuesday and Friday.
“Over several months it was apparent these people needed a little more than just food,” Pierce said, who had plenty of other donated items sitting in a storage unit. “That’s when we connected the outreach to Rising Hearts and began giving out the donations that weren’t immediately used, such as clothes, blankets, and much more.”
Along with food, #EveryTuesdayandFriday donates clothes, toiletries and also collects unused milk from local schools. They are huge advocates for mental health and healing with the people they attend to, and give them a shoulder to lean on.
During a typical day, Pierce and friends cook and prepare large portions of food in the mornings before collecting additional food and assistance from local volunteers. The group drives from Encinitas to Oceanside, stopping to assist 35 or 40 individuals, some of whom are regular visitors, every trip.
“My favorite part of our outreach is just how much of a difference a small mission like ours can make,” Wetering said. “Many of those we assist regularly tell us that they look forward to seeing us and that it makes their week.”
Pierce said putting smiles on faces is what makes their work so rewarding.
“They’re always happy to see us and express that #EveryTuesdaysandFridays are the best days of the week,” Pierce said. “We’ve been able to help many people off the streets and we encourage their sobriety.”
Rising Hearts and #EveryTuesdayandFriday are incredibly grateful for all the help they receive. Anyone can help out by reaching out to them on their Facebook page. The group can also be reached by email at: [email protected], or visit the sign-up link: https://signup.com/go/hjYODFx.