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Easter feast for Sonoma County's homeless

  • Brad Scott of Santa Rosa takes shelter under an umbrella that he just found as he eats his Easter dinner served up by the Redwood Gospel Mission in Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa on Sunday, March, 31, 2013 (Scott Manchester/The Press Democrat)

Each person arrived with a different life story to Sunday's Easter feast for the homeless at Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa.

There was the young man who followed love to California and ended up at odds with the law. The teenager fulfilling volunteer hours. A group of friends who rarely leave their hotel rooms gathered at a table.

Whatever the reason, those who congregated downtown Sunday received plates heavy with ham and mashed potatoes. Nearby, volunteers cracked jokes as they trimmed beards and hair.

Redwood Gospel Mission Easter Dinner

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They gave away bags full of socks, soap and toys. They scrubbed feet clean.

"It's exactly everything I needed," said Cathy Therine, 54, of Santa Rosa.

Therine was among about 400 people who came for the food and camaraderie. She pulled out items from a gift bag: a brush to help manage her long hair, a toothbrush, new socks and a razor.

She sat at a long dining table set up under the big tent as the rain poured down.

"Being homeless, it warms me up to come here," Therine said.

Two tables down, a 71-year-old veteran got a second plate of food.

"I'm here because it's a free meal, I'm with friends and I'm not getting shot at," said Gerry, who would only give his first name but recited a rhyming poem.


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