Article Spiritual Service

Feed The Way

Featured Photo by Steve Knutson 

For over twenty-five years, Paul W. Jacob (Jake) has walked the streets of destitute and raw urban areas offering food and companionship for his shelterless brothers and sisters while also being present with them on their spiritual journeys. At the onset of the Covid pandemic, Jake, and his wife, Jess, co-founded “Feed The Way”, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization that provided Care Bags, sandwiches, warm clothing items, and spiritual support for homeless and marginalized people living rough on the streets of Seattle. Most importantly, Jake and Jess enabled many people who felt abandoned by society during a stressful and dangerous time to feel seen, heard, and loved.

“During the height of the Covid pandemic in Seattle, the homeless population had swelled to the thousands. There were destitute and homeless people lining the streets, strewn on the sidewalks, hidden in alleys, occupying abandoned buildings, and living in sprawling tent cities as well as sleeping in parks, parking lots, and in parked cars. Many of the privileged people who could afford real housing simply sealed themselves off in their dwellings while ordering food and other supplies from Amazon. In addition, most of the governmental, civic, non-profit, and religious organizations that had helped homeless persons prior to Covid simply closed their doors to them during the pandemic. The overall lack of organizational assistance for the homeless during this emergency time only made the socio-economic aspect of their plight more obvious.

 My wife and I responded to this worldly withdrawal of resources by offering radically decentralized and subversive hospitality out on the streets. I say “subversive” because many of our actions in serving the homeless were technically illegal; however, acts of solidarity and love supersede all human laws because they come from a place of grace and necessity.

 When the Covid pandemic was at its frightening height, I remember a doctor from Kaiser Permanente who treated Covid patients saying to me, ‘You and your wife are on the front of the front lines. At least here I have locked doors, armed security guards, other staff members, state of the art air filtration systems, PPE, medicines, bandages, and an overall peace of mind knowing that I am in a hospital. But you two have none of that out there.’

 Plus, I didn’t have any health insurance.”

By entering the raw fray of the devastated streets of Seattle during the Covid pandemic day after day, my wife and I fed, clothed, forged relationships, and created a heartfelt decentralized community with thousands of our homeless sisters and brothers. Furthermore, all of our lives were changed forever because within those unadulterated places of sickness, fear, filth, hunger, loneliness, and marginalization out on the streets, we constantly discovered humble moments of mercy in the margins together.” – Jake

“Feed The Way” made and handed out over 10,000 Care Bags and sandwiches while procuring and delivering hundreds of pairs of wool gloves, winter hats, and warm socks to the unhoused in Seattle during the Covid pandemic. They stepped up when government, religious, and social organizations who had been serving the homeless prior to the pandemic, shut down. In addition, “Feed The Way” provided companionship and pastoral care on the streets, back alleys, parking lots, abandoned buildings, and in parks where homeless and marginalized people were living.

After their two years of doing “Feed The Way” in Seattle, Jake and Jess spent a year on the East Coast attending and accompanying unhoused people on the racially disparate streets of Richmond, Virginia, during the end of the Covid pandemic. Recently, they attended to marginalized and homeless persons on the streets of various Mexican locales.

During their time in Mexico, Jess (who is Mexican American) and Jake attended to homeless families of up to eight people, including children, who were sleeping huddled together on the sidewalks of strange cities. There were also many immobilized, incapacitated, and debilitated people on the streets and sidewalks who were often missing one or more limbs and simply cannot work to support themselves.

Now, they are serving in Thailand.

No matter where Jake and Jess live or travel, “Feed The Way” is committed to attending and accompanying those who either live on the streets or in the forgotten margins of society. This is their calling. To learn more, visit: Feed the Way.

Jake and Jess
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