A Georgia State student has single handedly helped feed Atlanta’s homeless.


Georgia State student Rudy Schlosser collects leftover food from the Panther Club every Friday and wheels them down on a cart to The Shrine of Immaculate Conception, a catholic church near Georgia State’s campus.
Georgia State student Rudy Schlosser collects leftover food from the Panther Club every Friday and wheels them down on a cart to The Shrine of Immaculate Conception, a catholic church near Georgia State’s campus.

There is a little known faction of the population that exists on the fringe of society. They are a people who call MARTA stations home; they sleep in alleyways and parks, and seek shelter underneath tunnels.

For all intents and purposes, the homeless are invisible. Sometimes they’re spared a dollar, but most of time, they’re not spared so much as a glance.

The religious studies major Rudy Schlosser was different; not only did he see them, he stretched out a hand to them.

“A lot of people just pass by them and rush from place to place,” Schlosser said. “I’m someone who actually observes. I’m the person who may not always give money when they’re holding signs at those intersections, but I’ll at least look at them. I’ll say that I’ll pray for them… I’ll at least acknowledge that they exist.”

Schlosser does much more than just say hello. In 2006, Georgia State General Manager Ken Wesolowski contacted him with a dilemma: they had extra food, but nothing to do with it. The student contacted local churches in search of a home for the surplus, and located The Shrine of Immaculate Conception, a Catholic church that fed the homeless every Saturday. He had a source and a destination, but no middleman. So, Schroeder himself decided to be the bridge.

And every Friday for the past nine years, he has hand delivered the food himself.

“It’s kind of like a job to me,” Schlosser said. “I know that I’m supposed to be there, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Fridays at our cafeteria, to make sure that the food gets delivered to this church. So that they, in turn, can feed 600 people.”

The staunch Catholic considers himself a believer, and this duty to help others acts as a personal and moral responsibility. To this philanthropist, the most important part of what he does is not feeding the homeless. It is being a friend to them.

“It’s about the human touch. When we deliver food to the homeless, many times we also spend time with them. It’s better that you see how they’re doing and get to know their names, rather than just handing them a dollar and never seeing them again,” Schlosser said If you spend just one minute asking about how they’re doing, who they are, it means so much to them. They don’t always get someone to talk to. Acknowledging that they’re a human being means so much more than any amount of food that you can give them.”

Every Saturday, along with other food donations, the church feeds at least 230 people in need.  Photos by Jade Johnson | The Signal
Every Saturday, along with other food donations, the church feeds at least 230 people in need.
Photos by Jade Johnson | The Signal

A modern day Good Samaritanrudy2

That tender touch is the foundation of Schlosser’s “pay it forward” philosophy. He referred to the famous biblical adage of the good Samaritan, a man who stopped to help an injured stranger on the side of the road. But Schlosser did not talk about his kind heart. Instead, he spoke highly of the Samaritan’s ability to help in the moment; to see a need and extend a hand right then and there.

“I give that human touch today. When it matters. That moment. It’s not a delayed human touch, it’s an active, present human touch,” Schlosser said. “In the story of the good Samaritan, the people who passed by him [the needy] were priests going to church. They weren’t bad people for not stopping, but the Samaritan was a better person for stopping.”

And he is a firm believer that anyone can be a “good Samaritan.” It is not about being wealthy enough to do everything, it is about using the resources one has now to do what they can- even if it’s just offering a smile to a stranger or a shoulder for a friend to lean on.

“There is nobody that cannot help another human being. Every student here can volunteer, it’s just a matter of setting aside a few hours a week and just doing it,” Schlosser said. “Anybody can hand out food to another person. This is not some Olympic skill.”

A man and his church

In the shadow of the Capitol, sleeps Atlanta’s homeless. But neighboring the Capitol and Georgia State, is a church that aims to change that.

The Shrine of Immaculate Conception is a catholic church with strong roots in the Atlanta community, a chapel that predates the Civil War. Every Saturday, from 8 to 10 a.m., the church holds St. Francis Table, a soup kitchen for the needy. And every Friday afternoon, Schlosser loads up a handcart himself and makes the trek a few blocks south to deliver Georgia State’s contribution.

“I would say I do it forty times a year,” Schlosser said. “Over ten years, that’s 400 times. Sometimes it’s raining, sometimes it’s cold. But the motivation is that you’re helping out another person.”

Along the way, Schlosser explained how this delivery is not a venture for glorification on the part of Georgia State, the church, or himself. It is not done out of obligation, but duty; our moral responsibility to our fellow Atlanta neighbors.

“I think that it [the church’s food drive] adds community development and kinship to our neighborhood,” Wanda Paige, the church’s Outreach Coordinator said.

Inside the church’s kitchen, the fridges, freezers and pantries are overflowing with food for the needy. Everything from Publix pastries to Chick-fil-a salads are piled dozens high, thanks to donations from local businesses, grocery stores  and schools like Georgia State.

“We’re not doing this for attention. We’re doing this because we care about our community,” Schlosser said.

Spreading the goodwill:

How students can get involved

Being located in the heart of the city, the volunteer opportunities that Georgia State offers are endless. Here are a few ways to extend a hand:

1) Inquire: Talk to the managers in your dorm’s cafeterias about delivering food surplus to local soup kitchens. Live in Piedmont North or Piedmont Central? Take up the mantle and brainstorm ways to deliver extra food to soup kitchens or churches in the area. Contact Rudy at Rudyru777run@yahoo.com to add an extra stop to his route.

2) Do: Volunteer at The Shrine of Immaculate Conception’s food drives or soup kitchens: Contact their office at 404-521-1866 to see how you and your friends can get involved.

3) Organize: Not only do the unfortunate need food, but they also need healthcare and clothes. Organize clothing and hygiene drives, collecting items like your old coats and toothpaste for someone who needs it.  

4)  Explore and research: Volunteering and community service opportunities are endless. There are several different organizations that cater to various needs around the city; Gateway Center for single mothers and children, the Atlanta Task Force for the homeless. Making a difference is only a google search away.

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