Lucky Duck program employs inmates and feeds the unhoused
Speaker 1: (00:00)
It's giving Tuesday. And today we want to tell you about an organization in our community, helping the unsheltered and incarcerated the organization is called lucky duck foundation. And they've come up with a very efficient way to provide meals to those in need and provide jobs to those who are incarcerated here to tell us more, is drew Moser, executive director of lucky duck foundation drew. Welcome.
Speaker 2: (00:23)
Thank you, Jay. Great to be with you
Speaker 1: (00:25)
For those who are not familiar with the lucky duck foundation, tell us who you are.
Speaker 2: (00:29)
Well, we raised money to fund activate and lead high-impact programs that address homelessness throughout San Diego. Our co-founders match all donations up to a million dollars per year, and we've been focused on homelessness for about the past four or five years. And we fund things like public shelters, employment, job training programs, uh, uh, food and water outreach initiative, and several other things that, uh, have an immediate and high impact, uh, helping those in need.
Speaker 1: (00:58)
And how did COVID inspire the creation of this
Speaker 2: (01:01)
Program? Well, when COVID hit many of the community and faith-based feedings went away, um, because obviously you couldn't gather and we had a, a major quiet benefactor in Gwendolyn sawn time that come to us and said, Hey, we need to find a way to feed folks that are living unsheltered on the streets. So now no longer have access to food and water. Can you do something about it? And, uh, Dan Shay has been a long time, uh, board member and supporter, and very actively involved knew that the Sheriff's department has a massive commercial kitchen that cranks out like 15,000 meals per day for their inmate population, uh, which is a huge number to begin with, but they actually have the ability to go above and beyond, uh, 15,000 meals to help us out. And so what they do is they make pack and deliver cold nonperishable meals to us, uh, which we purchase.
Speaker 2: (01:55)
And then we make those meals available to around 20 or 25 different professional homeless outreach teams who pick up those meals three times a week and then distribute them throughout the city and county. Uh, so we organize very quickly when COVID hits started by feeding 400 people per day. We're up to over a thousand people per day now, uh, that we're able to reach in. And, but now eclipsing the million nail mark. And really the purpose is twofold. It's, it's wanting to keep people fed and hydrated, but secondarily to use those meals as a way to build trust and rapport and relationship to ultimately support people's efforts, to end their homelessness and get off the streets and, and connect to the resources and shelters and whatnot that exists.
Speaker 1: (02:42)
You say this program not only benefits the unsheltered, um, but also the incarcerated. How so and how are they company?
Speaker 2: (02:49)
So they're employed really through the Sheriff's department who provides their compensation and relevant work experience to make an and pack these meals, uh, while they're incarcerated then. And so when we started designing this program and, and knew that the commercial kitchen kitchen existed with the Sheriff's department, um, and the various opportunities that exist, and we saw it as a win all around for people living unsheltered for people that are doing the outreach work, but also people who are, you know, in prison at the moment, so that they can help contribute. They can help, uh, they can earn some income and gain a relevant life, skill, and employments feel so that when they do reenter society, they're more employable and have a chance, a better chance to get back on their feet. Uh, so there's a lot of facets of this, of this program. And again, we, we see it as, uh, a win all around
Speaker 1: (03:43)
San Diego, recovered from the pandemic in terms of opening more soup kitchens, or is there still a short,
Speaker 2: (03:49)
Uh, we see, see that there is still a shortage. It's why we're fully committed to not only continuing this program, but expanding it and why we're making it, the emphasis of our giving Tuesday campaign, that's set up such that we're able to source these meals at cost. And so we're able to scale it only through philanthropy, no other sources of funding. And so $1 provides at least one meal. And then when you factor in that our co-founders match all gifts up to a million dollars per year. People's money and gifts are effectively doubled. And so we're always looking for more volunteers, donors, but really more outreach workers so that, uh, more meals and more people can benefit from this program, not only with the nourishment, but again also that, uh, sort of olive branch to help in their homelessness and connect them to the resources that exist. And we're not the only ones saying this. We know other, you know, like feeding San Diego as an example, they're, they're putting their foot on the gas as well, uh, to reach more people because the need seemingly is only increasing.
Speaker 1: (04:54)
Um, and, and can you paint the picture of what that need is like right now, uh, for the unsheltered in Sandy?
Speaker 2: (05:01)
So we surveyed the outreach workers that participate in this program to get their feedback on, on how effective it is. 85% of them believe that they have more positive interactions with people living on sheltered because of these meals, uh, 94% believe the food and water is helpful in building trust and rapport. And in 97% believe the food and water is life saving and having a company, uh, several of them out, uh, and interacting with folks. It's apparent that people are suffering. Uh, they need more resources. They need access to food and water. And it's one of the reasons why we're fully committed to this program amongst several other programs that are designed to immediately alleviate the suffering of homelessness.
Speaker 1: (05:47)
How many people are living on right
Speaker 2: (05:49)
Now? Well, it's a moving target, and it depends on which data point you go. After the most recent point in time count was conducted in January of 2020. The number then was roughly 4,000, but that's important for people to know that's just one day, one snapshot in time. When you look at how many people touch the system over 12 months, it could be, you know, as many as four times that number and regional task force on homelessness put out some numbers based on data. They have, uh, that suggest homelessness is, is rising very significantly, which is troubling for a lot of reasons. But, you know, for the prior three years, pre COVID, uh, homelessness have decreased in San Diego by 16% and unsheltered homelessness had decreased by 29%. Uh, we believe that a big part of that was from some of the shelters that we were able to fund and quickly, um, implement that take hundreds of people off the streets. And so that's one reason why we continue to advocate for, you know, quick cost effective humane strategies that can get a large number of people off the streets with, into a warm bed, uh, with the roof over their heads. It just, just, there's just too many people, um, suffering out there. Unfortunately,
Speaker 1: (07:06)
What do you want to see done at the government level to address the issue of homelessness?
Speaker 2: (07:11)
One of the topics we discussed yesterday was accessing underutilized government properties that exist that, that largely sit idle and under utilized. One example is the old library downtown, the front doors are locked and homeless, literally sleep on their doorstep. And we advocate for maximizing existing resources and converting those properties, uh, quickly, which can be done in a very cost-effective manner. Now, uh, at the same time, we do need to add housing, uh, housing, and however is a costly and longterm endeavor. There's just too many people on the streets suffering that need a place to go tonight, not in five and 10 and 20 years. Um, and so again, that was the old library is just one example of a government property that could be quickly converted, uh, to, to, to get a good number of people quickly off the streets and onto a safe room and ride rider path.
Speaker 1: (08:14)
I've been speaking with drew Moser, executive director of lucky duck foundation drew. Thank you so much for
Speaker 2: (08:19)
Joining us. Thank you, Jay. Very much. Appreciate it.
Speaker 3: (08:23)
Inmates are making meals for those who are homeless in the San Diego area.
The program was created by the Lucky Duck Foundation.
Drew Moser, executive director of Lucky Duck Foundation, joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to discuss the program and the organization.