Over 20 members from the Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue had a very special and meaningful gathering on November 13. In order to understand the housing situation and food provided to the homeless, the group visited the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an organization founded in 1833, located in Skid Row, Downtown LA.
Group members first were welcomed by one of the docents, Kalvin, who gave an outdoor tour to see the housing project around the neighborhood. Kalvin said he had been homeless for over 5 years and finally settled down with the help of social workers. He expressed there is always a way only if see things with a different view. He introduced five buildings now serving as shelters, offices and health clinics. At noon, the participants from different churches and temples started to serve lunch for 100 residents and seniors who enjoyed their meal along with desserts and drinks donated by charity missions.
Executive Director David Fields shared an introductory video with the members and talked about the plans and programs. To continue the theme of “Providing Housing for the Poor” proposed by Pope Francis in the Vatican this June, Prof. Don reported the outcome of an interview with Enterprise Housing (an NGO organization) which has been building 15,000 affordable green houses for several communities. The Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue is planning to recruit and bring up the awareness of social services to provide more healthcare and mindfulness training centers.
Participants included Fr. Alexei, Fr. John, Fr. Jim, Ven. Sumana, Ven. Osa Royoku, Ven. Mankuang, Ven. Manching, Rev. Noriaki Ito, Sabrina Ho, Bob Coppolino, Jonny Hsu and others.