RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A renovated warehouse near Moore Square opened its doors Saturday to feed Raleigh’s homeless.
Last fall, Raleigh police began to enforce a city ordinance banning serving meals in Moore Square.
The Oak City Outreach Center, owned by the city, will serve as many as 400 meals on the weekends to the same homeless who used to get their meals in Moore Square.
“The folks who are coming to receive food nourishment have a wonderful place to sit and visit with one another and just relax and take a load off their minds for a few minutes,” said Rick Miller-Haraway, regional director of Catholic Charities.
The meals will be distributed by various charitable organizations coordinated by Catholic Charities.
“I was almost moved to tears as I saw the happiness on the faces of people to see them kind of peak around the door and say, ‘Wow. This place is really nice. They did a really nice job of fixing it up,’” Miller-Haraway said.
The Oak City Outreach Center is the result of a task force after the controversy that ended meal distribution in Moore Square. Police threatened to arrest members of organizations feeding the homeless in the square.
“If you don’t find a place to feed the homeless, they’re going to find a place to eat and then you’re going to be promoting stealing and robbing,” said Wilbur Davis. “People get hungry, they get an attitude. They’re going to find a way to eat.”
Davis was homeless at one time and said he knows the hurt and pain those in need feel. He has been on his feet since 2006 and tries to give back.
He offered his first-hand knowledge when he served on the task force that formed the outreach center.
“Most of the folks that’s homeless, they don’t have jobs. They don’t have money to catch the buses. So, this spot right here, it’s a good spot. It’s an ideal spot for the homeless because they don’t have money to go to different places and travel around,” Davis said.
The outreach center will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and serve three meals a day on Saturdays and Sundays.