‘His House’ Feeds Hungry
His House, in Torrance, Calif., is the social service arm of the Torrance Corps (Corps Officers Captains Doug and Sheryl Tollerud). David Risher, who once worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, became social services director of “His House” in 1991. He has two part-time employees: Elia Bash, intake worker, and Sam Imai, who works as a pantry assistant 10 hours per week. They rely very heavily on volunteer help from the community, having about 65 on a regular basis and over 200 at Christmas.
Low income families and individuals can receive groceries once a month. Up to 3,000 families are served monthly with this program, supported strongly with donations from local churches and organizations.
There is a brown bag lunch program for seniors who cannot afford Meals on Wheels. Hard core homeless living in a local park are served 75 to 100 hot meals on Mondays at a nearby church, with food and volunteers from His House.
Now in its sixth year, “Operation Backpack” serves nearly 500 students yearly with back to school supplies and clothing. After applicants are screened, each child receives a new backpack full of school supplies and a voucher for clothing from the local ARC Thrift Store. Local organizations help support this venture, which has caught the hearts of the community. His House is the focal point for many community services, including the immunization mobile home and the distribution of layettes provided by church women.
Risher says much local poverty is hidden. The staff serves as a telephone clearing house for between 75 and 100 calls a day from people who don’t know where to turn. “But the Lord will provide,” says Risher. “That’s something I had reinforced by Mother Teresa.”