Police serve holiday meal to hundreds of people who are homeless

Eugene Police Department staff served a special holiday meal to 200 people at the St. Vincent de Paul Lindholm Center on Highway 99 on Friday. The food was donated by Bruns Apple, and New Day Bakery cooked the meals. The center offers daytime services to adults who are homeless. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - Eugene Police are serving their community a little differently than normal Friday.

They joined other agencies to serve holiday dinners to the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul Lindholm Center.

Officer Clark was in uniform on Friday, but he was out of his car and spending time with the community he patrols every day.

"We come here a lot of times for calls for service, and it's usually a crisis situation or something like that," said Officer Dave Clark. "So when I come here outside of those times, I'm able to see people outside, kind of a more relaxed atmosphere."

Clark has been involved with the special holiday dinners for the homeless for four years. Being here helps him build a relationship with the community where he spends more than 40 hours a week.

"A lot of times we find with the population that's here is that they're reluctant to report a crime because of living on the streets and having to be around people who are assaulting or hurting them," said Clark. "I can rely on my history with them or my friendship with them here."

It seems to be working, even for those who say they used to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

"He's definitely part of an angel," said Miguel Mullins. "He's definitely walking in God's footsteps."

Mullins says when Eugene Police get involved like today, it humanizes them.

"They're just like us," said Mullins. "I mean, they're not no different just because they're a cop. I that's really cool."

And Clark says there's still more that can be done by everybody in the community.