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Sycamore and Romaine
Every night between 6:15 and 7:30 a community comes together at the barren street corner of Sycamore and Romaine, along the border of Hollywood and West Hollywood. On the one hand – on one side of the table – are the volunteers of The Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, a broad-based grass-roots organization which for the past 25 years has served a hot, fresh, and nutritious meal every night to the homeless and hungry. On the other hand are between 150 and 200 men and women who have somehow or other fallen through the cracks, and for whom the meal they are about to eat, sumptuous as it is, might well be the only meal they have all day. The GWHFC is comprised of actors, producers, writers, artists, teachers, journalists, lawyers, housewives, and a corps of former “clients” who have all had a strong desire to give back by volunteering in Los Angeles. Serving a meal to the “homeless and hungry” is the smallest part of what we do. We meet them on their own turf, talk to them, and listen. We get to know them as individuals, and, little by little, in all kinds of ways, we then help them to think better of themselves and to not be shy about asking for specific, practical help – which the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, entirely unsystematically, then tries to provide. All together, volunteers and homeless, form a kind of microcosm of what the larger community ought to be, but now, in the big city, is no longer. The motto of the GWHFC is simply this (with no religious strings attached): I Am My Brother’s Keeper.