Who are the ones helping L.A.’s homeless people? One commonality among them is that they do not treat their philanthropy as a sense of pride. They simply chose to look at the margins of our lives. Instead of ignoring or looking down upon the weak, they offered a helping hand.
Restaurant owner Deuk-soo Park in Oregon
Approximately 100 Korean immigrants live in Salem, Ore. The small city’s Happy Bibimbap House, owned by Deuk-soo, 62, and his wife Hillary Park, 56, is now the best restaurant in town for three straight years.
However, the Parks close the restaurant at noon on every Monday, but that is also their busiest time of the week. That is when the couple and their employees prepare hotdogs and other food that are enough to feed 200 homeless people.
At around 4 p.m., a group of Koreans got together at a park located under the Marion Street Bridge. The Parks are serving nine tables seated by the city’s homeless people.
“They are the same people as us,” said Hillary Park. “They’re on the streets because there was a reason. It pains me to see them like that. We may be living better lives, but that is also because there have been people who’ve helped us, but that wasn’t the case for many of them.”
Park added: “No one is too poor to not share.”
New Jersey-based priest Min-hyeon Cho
Palisades Park, N.J. is where many Koreans reside. A few of them are inevitably the community’s underprivileged members. That is one of the reasons why St. Michael Catholic Church is actively helping the city’s homeless people.
However, the church recently received a shocking notice from the Bergen County government. The church must now ban the use of its basement as a homeless shelter.
The basement has served as a shelter for about nine homeless people in the area after Min-hyeon Cho, a priest at the church, found them shivering in cold in the winter.
“I’ve tried finding an RV and even looked for potential shelters nearby,” Cho said. “It’s not easy at the moment. That is also one of the reasons why we’ve given them our basement.”
The county government remains firm in its stance, however, stressing that no one should reside in a basement for safety reasons.
“What is there for me to do?” Cho asked. “To force them out would be to send them to death. I’d like to ask at the town hall meeting if they’d rather see them die on the streets.”
By Hyoung Jae Kim