One year ago today, volunteers from Love Wins Ministries showed up in Moore Square to share food with our friends, just like we had done every other weekend for nearly seven years. Only this time, the Raleigh Police Department showed up to stop us, and threatened us with arrest if we did not leave.
When the story went viral, the eyes of the world were cast upon the City of Raleigh, and they did not like what they saw. But more importantly, a mirror was held up to us in this city. And we too did not like what we saw.
Because the truth is, Raleigh is a compassionate city. A generous city. A kind city. And when Raleigh realized they were not acting compassionate, or kind, or generous, they changed that.
But the Oak City Outreach Center did not happen in isolation. It was the result of a lot of hard work from the City Council and staff, the groups like ourselves that share food, the Moore Square task force and The Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness. The citizens of Raleigh owe you all of these people an incalculable debt. Thank you.
Because of all that hard work, Raleigh’s most vulnerable citizens now have a place on the weekends to get out of the elements, to be treated with dignity and respect and have a place to get a hot meal or a cold drink. In the last two months, more than 10,000 meals have been shared here.
And yet our work is not done. This Outreach Center is a temporary solution, and even now we are working with the Wake-Raleigh Partnership and the City to plan the permanent outreach center.
As a city, we have come a long way in a very short time. But we have so much farther to go. But we will finish this race. If the last year has taught us anything, it is that all of us are smarter than any of us, and that when our will to do good lines up with our desire to do good, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.by