Phoenix Says Street Feeding Dropped In 2018

By Bret Jaspers
Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 3:49pm
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Jerome Parker of the First Christian Church in Phoenix is a former "street feeder" and urges people to give "in a healthy way."

The City of Phoenix has seen a decline in so-called “street feeding” this holiday season. That’s when volunteers hand out food or clothes on the street rather than going through established nonprofits.

The city picked up less trash over the 2018 Thanksgiving weekend, 8.25 tons, than it did in 2017, when the haul was 13.36 tons. That amounts to a 38 percent decrease for the Thursday-through-Sunday period of Thanksgiving weekend, the biggest of the year for on-street giving.

Christmas numbers are not yet available, although members of the Healthy Giving Council noticed a decline throughout the season.

“Based on what we have right now, looks like the numbers are definitely less than what they were in 2017,” said Jerome Parker, pastor at First Christian Church in Phoenix and a member of the Health Giving Council. “It’s kind of like an election. [All] the votes aren’t counted, but it’s trending in a way where we can definitively say it’s had a positive impact, at least on trash collection.”

The City of Phoenix, Maricopa County, the Healthy Giving Council and nonprofit leaders would rather people volunteer through established nonprofits, to help connect people to health care, a home, or a job. The coalition launched a public awareness campaign this fall.

Parker said his group was out this year talking to donors, trying to persuade them to work with existing nonprofits to fight homelessness.

“At the core of who we are as humans [is] we wanna do good, and so people would listen,” Parker said. “Some people would embrace the messaging and set up subsequent conversations and meetings. And then some people were just like, ‘eh, you know...I’ll think about it.’”

The outreach has focused around the Human Services Campus near downtown. Parker said the next step is to talk to street feeders in the Sunnyslope and Christown neighborhoods.

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