A new Friendship Park being built to replace the spot where Sacramento’s homeless have assembled for more than 20 years was blessed Wednesday by faith leaders.
The park began as a small welcoming area near the Loaves & Fishes dining room. Friendship Park opened 23 years ago and the nearly 2-acre site has served the homeless ever since.
It gives homeless people a sanctuary so they are not on the outside.
Loaves & Fishes executive director Sister Libby Fernandez, on the new, larger Friendship Park
On Wednesday, Jews, Christians and Muslims came together for a “ground blessing.” Instead of standing in the mud and rain where the new park is being constructed, the gathering of 50 people was held nearby in a metal warehouse.
Never miss a local story.
Dirt from the gardens of homes and property outside houses of worship was symbolically dropped into a child’s wagon and then carted out to the sodden site where new facilities for the homeless are being constructed along North 12th Street, a site very close to the present Friendship Park.
The upgraded Friendship Park, scheduled for completion in September, is to be nearly 2 acres in size and include gazebos to provide shelter, shade trees, a service center where people get meal tickets and basic necessities, bike racks, restrooms and storage lockers, according to the Loaves & Fishes website.
Friendship Park is the central gathering place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. for as many as 700 homeless men and women, many of whom suffer from physical and mental disabilities, and drug and alcohol dependency.