Stockton Volunteers Try to Make Connection with Homeless

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STOCKTON -- Nancy Lamb and her group of volunteers are doing more than just feeding Stockton's homeless.

They're trying to get to know them.

"We speak to them let them know that there's hope, bring them out hygiene, food, make sure they're hydrated," Lamb with 209 Cares said.

Cary Boles has been volunteering for Lamb's 209 Cares group for several years. He says often they just need someone who will listen.

"It makes me feel good helping people," Boles said.

"And you're not bringing homeless to your house, you're just helping the people out on the streets who you drive by every day," he said.

They hand out little things we take for granted -- soap, shampoo, toothpaste.

"Water and milk, and then they have sandwiches, chips," Boles said.

They also give out pet food, for dogs like Golden.

"And she brings out the best in me. Says, 'Hi' Golden, 'Hi,'" one homeless man said.

"About 90 percent of them have pets," Lamb said.

While many of the areas the homeless live in are trashed, Boles said if the city provided dumpsters, homeless have told him they would use them.

"The city needs to do something, that it probably doesn't need to go," Boles said.

He says in many of the homeless he talks to, he sees a little of the man he used to be.

"I see the potential of where I could have gone," Boles said.

"I was in a similar situation with drugs and alcohol, years ago. And I can relate with the people who need help," he said.

While the debate over what to do with the homeless problem in Stockton continues in places like city hall, this group says it prefers an active approach.

"There has to be an answer, there's got to be a solution to this," Boles said.

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