Some 125 homeless were served a Christmas luncheon featuring steak Tuesday at the Manteca Gospel Rescue Mission.
The cost of the lunch including drinks and desserts was paid for by a Manteca businessman who asked to remain anonymous. Inner City Action prepared the BBQ lunch. Some of the Inner City Action volunteers were once homeless themselves.
Pastor Pat Welsh and other volunteers guided their guests through a buffet line that was manned by a cadre of youngsters who filled the plates of the men and women coming off the streets. Added touches such as china plates rather than paper plates were used to enhance the experience at the church located at 610 East Yosemite Ave.
Norman Moore, 70, was one of the diners. He has been on the streets of Manteca since August.
Moore was rousted from bedding down on the railroad right-of-way along Moffat Boulevard as a nearby neighbor complained bringing Manteca Police Officer Chris Stock to his camp followed by a visit by Community Resource Officer Mike Kelly who gave him notice to move on to another location.
Moore said he then relocated to an area near Winters Avenue by a storage unit at that location with two protective large brick walls in something of a “no-man’s land” across from the Las Casuelas Restaurant on West Yosemite Avenue.
“It was full of trash and I cleaned it up. Kelly then evicted me from there and I went to Yosemite Avenue and Pacific Road and camped there getting a citation,” he said. “Now I am in a spot where the farmer might complain and that’s what is worrying me.”
Moore is fighting that citation in court. His case may go before a jury as early as March.
A carpenter by trade, he once worked on the Alaska Pipeline for five years, adding that he didn’t have tenure and his retirement is very slim beyond the $800 monthly Social Security check he receives. Moore worked at several other union jobs but left before creating much of an investment toward retirement, he said.
He grew up in Michigan, the fifth of a family of seven children. Moore and his future wife Jeanine bought a house there before they were married – borrowing $1,500 from his dad and another $1,500 from his brother to make the down payment.
In 1975 they bought a 280-acre farm in Minnesota but just two years later in 1977 they divorced. His next move was to buy a vacated department store and turn it into a deli-pizza parlor in Perham, Minnesota with a commercial loan carrying an 18 percent interest rate.
Moore said he lost everything in 1984 when he got his first of several DUIs, losing his license. He was not able to work as a carpenter without a car. He recalled a friend Dalbir Sanghern who lived on Linden Way in Manteca allowing him to have his mail delivered at his address and finally allowed him to stay in the home as it was being remodeled.
“A guy broke into the house several times and set it on fire,” he said.
Smoke got into everything and he finally had to move because it was being sold after the remodel was finished as real estate people wanted him out so they could show the property.
“I remember my dad saying: ‘A fool and his money are soon parted,’” Moore said.
He was quick to say that two of the volunteers at the Manteca Gospel Rescue Mission — Rebecca Goodrich and Judy Sinclair — have been his best advocates in Manteca since he has been on the streets homeless.
The two women chimed together after the luncheon Tuesday, agreeing, “He’s a gentleman and always brings smiles to our faces. We are blessed to have him. He’s an amazing man and our friend.”
As the makeshift dining room emptied out of its noontime guests, Moore got onto his bicycle in the alley behind the building and rode off down Yosemite Avenue toward his present camp site.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.