A Love for Humanity

Anahit Feroyan
Civic Engagement and Public Service

San Francisco

Anahit Feroyan was born in Yerevan into a very warm family that contributed to some very sweet and memorable childhood years for her. She mentions some interesting characteristics from her childhood that weren’t necessarily shared with most other kids. For instance, Anahit fondly remembers stopping the games she would play to go help someone, stopping whatever she’s doing and going to do something for someone else. If she saw someone carrying heavy bags, she remembered wanting to go and help them. This has continued on with her until adulthood.

She is married, she has a beautiful family with great kids, but this is normal and something which everyone may share about their life. She has worked different jobs and so on, but it is more significant to talk about how when Anahit grew up, she never lost that selflessness from  her childhood. Anahit considers Mother Teresa as noteworthy guiding light for her, saying, “I found in her what I like to see in myself. In the hard years in Armenia, we would all help each other, but there were things that I would do that I felt I was chosen to do from above, in helping others. There are some things that if I was asked to do, I would not do it, but I felt it was my purpose to do it. It was decided for me to do this.”

In 2001, Anahit moved to the U.S., and with her family still in Armenia, was completely alone for 5 years. Thus began her story helping homeless people. “What changed in me,” Anahit goes on to say, “was that I wasn’t bitter and mad at the world at the fact that I had absolutely no one, but I felt a duty from God, I felt a responsibility to my environment, I felt a responsibility to others in Armenia and I felt that same responsibility to others in America. I had a feeling of accountability for wherever I lived. I felt this power within myself, and it is not running out but quite the opposite, it is growing. I feel an indescribable accountability to help others as something I am supposed to do.”

Every Saturday, Anahit and her team have helped feed around 200-250 people, and approximately 500,000 people over the course of 16 years. Anahit emphasizes that their work is not only feeding though, “sure there are plenty of organizations that can feed homeless people. There is another problem of living in America and that is the issue of loneliness, that people feel alone and not cared for. If you show someone that you love them, you can bring them to life. We do not only feed them, but in addition to that, I may say that these people after 36 years of living on the street may go and rent a home, find a job and no longer live on the street, because of the fact that they feel someone cares about them. Kids and teenagers who have run away from home, their parents come to us and show photos of their missing kids and we return them to their parents. We provide those kids who come to us with love that leads them to go back home.”