There will be a send-off ceremony for the Side-by-Side Ministry with the Homeless on Friday, March 30, 2012. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m., at the Side-by- Side office, located in Friendship Park at Loaves and Fishes, 1321 North C Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. All friends, donors, and volunteers – past and present – are invited to attend.
In February, the Steering Committee for Side-by-Side announced "a very sad but necessary step … done with a lot of prayer and discernment." The committee announced that effective March 30, Side-by-Side would cease operation after having faithfully served the homeless in Friendship Park for more than 10 years.
"As the economy continues to be tight, many non-profit organizations are struggling. Side-by-Side is not immune," reads a letter signed by the Rev. Linda Kelly-Baker on behalf of the committee. "Just at the time we were hoping to move to an independent 501(c)3 organization, we are finding it impossible to attract committed board members to make it work, and secure the funding needed to keep Side-by-Side afloat."
The letter continues, "Though many donors have been very faithful over the years, as well as significant support from Loaves & Fishes and the Board of Missions of the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church, and many local churches, we now realize we just can't make it work."
After March 30, Loaves & Fishes will continue to use the Side-by-Side name, with the ministry's permission, but it will be a different program, under the management and control of Loaves & Fishes.
"I pray for all of you and I hope your prayers are with me," Kelly-Baker's letter concluded. "I am sure that God will provide whatever is needed next – not only in Friendship Park, but in all our lives as well."