FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – For many who are homeless, each day can be an unknown about where to find the next meal. In Fort Worth, three times a month, there is at least one certainty: home-cooked food served on the streets with a side of love.
“We’ve got 10 pounds of rice, eight pounds of peas and carrots. Now we have rice pilaf,” explained Pam Casey.
Oven-baked chicken, bottled water, homemade lemonade, chicken salad sandwiches and other sides round out the spread, prepared by a handful of volunteers.
The food that Casey cooks up in her kitchen could feed a large, extended family. That is how she thinks of the people who line up on East Presidio Street in Fort Worth. “I call them my family. That’s what I feel like they are. We’re all God’s children. They’ve just had some unfortunate circumstances,” she said.
It began last summer: hot dogs and bottled water, packed up at home and delivered to those who don’t have one.
“As much as they need food, they need somebody to care about them, somebody who is interested in them, somebody to talk to them and really give them some hope,” added Bob Silverman, Casey’s husband. “That comes with the name — Hot Dogs and Hope.”
The basic provisions that Casey and Silverman, and a handful of other volunteers, first handed out to a few dozen people evolved into something like a buffet spread. Volunteers now serve hundreds of meals every other weekend in Fort Worth’s Near Eastside.
The meals feed bellies, and souls. “It relieves a lot of pressure off of us being homeless,” said Kenneth Woolfolk.
Woolfolk has lived off and on the streets for many years, he explained. One day, he encountered the group from Hot Dogs and Hope. “I was just coming down the street and they said, ‘Hey, sir, you want a hotdog?’ I said, ‘Yeah, perfect.’ They said, ‘You want a prayer?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir,'” Kenneth recalled.
Woolfolk said that the last part — the prayer — leaves him feeling full of hope. “My hope for the future is to get me an apartment, a little job, and get off the streets. And then come back to the streets to serve the people of the streets,” he said.
That is all the encouragement that Casey needs. “It makes my heart happy. It just makes me smile,” she said.
Hot Dogs and Hope is always looking for more volunteers. The group meets every other Saturday and one Sunday a month on East Presidio Street.