HP students feed homeless, hear their stories

Team with Mobile Loaves & Fishes

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

On a recent rainy Saturday morning, 14 volunteers set out to feed Austin homeless people a hot meal and to hear their stories.

     The volunteers included eight Hyde Park High School students — Ella, Ben, Jack Fischer, Jack Waugh, Ted Waugh, Quenten Schulze, Jackson Bauch and Amelia McConico — who formed a Mobile Loaves & Fishes leadership group to help bring awareness of homelessness in Austin.

On April 21, they started their day at Mobile Loaves & Fishes – St. John Neumann Catholic Church Commissary at 903 Capital of TX Highway.

Donated food was prepared and loaded onto the MLF truck, as was clothing and toiletries the students had collected.

The results of the day: 150 sloppy joes served to over 100 hungry people and 14 smiling volunteers.

Not only did the students provide a nutritious meal and clothing, they gathered information and stories to share with the local community.

Facilitators including the principle of Hyde Park and the former principal of St. Gabriel’s Catholic School helped with the conversations, and those served had the option to participate.

Jack Fischer, 17, recounts the story of one person he spoke with:

“His name is The Preacher, he has been homeless for about 3 years now. He travels around Austin on his motorized bike preaching to homeless people around Austin. He said he has always called himself homeless because he was on the road all the time playing music but actually chose to become homeless three years ago. He is just trying to spread the word of God to homeless people around Austin to get them going in the right direction.”


Jack’s sister Ella Fischer, 15, shared her story about Randy:

“He’s very tall and funny. He likes to tell jokes and made me laugh so hard! Randy told me that he served in the army and was stationed in many places such as Afghanistan. He said that Mobile Loaves is amazing and he is so grateful”

The Preacher and Randy are two of the more than 2,000 estimated homeless people living in Austin, of which some 800 do not have shelter during the night.

Mobile Loaves & Fishes and St. John Neumann’s provides more than 6,000 meals a month along with donated clothing and toiletries. It makes 82 truck-runs a month.

For more information about about MLF or to donate, please contact Wendy Adams wendyadams568@gmail.com  


Hyde Park – Mobile Loaves & Fishes homeless stories

Quenten Schulze, Hyde Park HS:

“His name is Jason and he is a musician. He lost his home when he was arrested and couldn’t pay rent. He plays music all the time on 6th street and he thanked us for the meals we provide.”

“He calls himself Drip and he just moved to Austin seven months ago from Boulder Colo. He’s been homeless for the last six months and appreciates all the help ML&F provides. He likes the people here and the Barton Springs area”

Wendy Adams, volunteer:

“Her name is Jenny. She has pink highlights in her dyed grey hair and she’s certainly not even close to 25. I’ve met her a few times and she’s always so excited to talk. The last time I saw Jenny she hid from us as if ashamed, hurt or just broken. We offered her a hug and a hot meal.  She thanked us and headed back into the woods.

“His name is Brandon. He served two tours in Afghanistan, came home and got in a horrific motorcycle accident. He sustained massive brain trauma and is trying to recover. All Brandon wants to do is go back to Corpus Christi and find a job but he’s just not healthy enough yet.

Dawn Brady, volunteer

“It was my first truck run, I was serving Joe, humble, polite and full of gratitude.  As I was handing him his bagged dinner, he looked up and said, ‘Well, I do have to admit that I had a few drinks today.’ On the truck with me was a long-time server named John. John looked at Joe, put his hand on Joe’s shoulder and said, ‘No judgement, just dinner.’ Joe looked at us again and said, ‘Thank you and God Bless you.’”

Jack Waugh, Hyde Park HS:

“Her name is Rose.  Rose walked up to our truck as soon as we parked and immediately started talking to everyone there. I had never met her but she talked to me like we were best friends.  She did talk about drug use and the struggles of being on the street, but also about how grateful she was for everything she’d been given. She talked about her friends, her campsite, and the food that we were providing. She called homeless people, ‘street warriors,’ because they were living life to the fullest despite their situation. It amazed me how happy and optimistic she was despite her situation.  Imagining myself in her shoes, I don’t know if I would be able to feel that way; but she only saw the positive, which is something I learned to do better from her.”

“His name is Steve. Steve served in Vietnam and is retired. He had some trouble with police in the past and felt mistreated by the government. He was emotional about the matter and upset that he was treated wrongly. Although Steve felt this way, he spoke passionately about everything good that was happening in his life. Half an hour went by and we talked about politics, the city, his background, and he asked me about my life.  I learned from this conversation that Mobile Loaves not only brings people food to eat, but brings people together. Steve got the opportunity to have a relaxed talk about life and made a new friend.”