HOUSTON – A local man is making sure Houston’s homeless population has something to eat and is not forgotten during the coronavirus crisis.
For more than 30 years, Jay Hamburger, or “Eggman" as they call him on the streets, has fed the homeless community with food purchased with his own money and food donated by local businesses.
“These people are like a subset of my family,” Hamburger said to KPRC 2. “They’re just human beings who suffered some misfortune, in most cases, and kind of fell of the edge of society.”
And it was family who instilled his sense of community service.
“I saw my parents as generous community servants,” he said. “They gave their time, they gave their money, they always had a good heart for good causes, especially for the less fortunate.”
Hamburger said he felt it was his obligation to help the community.
As a young adult, he volunteered at many organizations until one day, while volunteering at Houston’s annual Thanksgiving Super Feast, an event that feeds thousands, Hamburger asked himself what the homeless ate during other months.
“The obvious answer is they have to scratch around for food," he said. "It was then, 30-and-a-half years ago, that I decided to do something with a purpose to help the homeless particularly.”
Hamburger began by cooking 100 to 200 meals from his own kitchen with the help of volunteers and delivered them every Sunday for three decades.
Now, he distributes fresh fruit, baked goods, snacks, salads, juice packs and hard-boiled eggs — his signature piece and the reason why he was given the nickname “Eggman" — at least twice a week.
Hamburger even tries to help the homeless by channeling medical care or housing.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Hamburger has had to raise funds through his Facebook page and crowdsourcing sites to buy food from local restaurants who are also struggling.
By doing this, he helps restaurants stay afloat while providing substantial meals to the underserved community. Although he says some joints, like Three Brother’s Bakery, are still willing to donate food or offer him a discount.
Hamburger says he normally doesn’t wear protective equipment like masks and gloves when distributing meals, but for now, he will.
“I’m excruciatingly hygienic because I certainly don’t want to endanger these people, many of whom have weakened immune systems," he said.
Hamburger added that due to the coronavirus, he has also begun organizing distributions to help feed first responders at local hospitals and is planning on delivering meals to correctional officers in jails as well.
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