"It was as if the plug had been pulled," Castellani said
Thursday of the loss of his truck, one of 60,000 vehicles stolen each year in the city of
Los Angeles. "You can open up the tailgate and feel the vibes in that truck. That
truck, it was the hope. And when you take the hope from a human being, what do you have to
Castellani, 56, has little enough to spare. He house-sits for friends and
at times has slept in the pickup, which he kept in immaculate condition.
He said he never knew from one day to the next whether he would have enough donated
food to serve the "smelly, pukey, dirty, beautiful boys" that depended on him to
bring them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna fish and hot dogs. But somehow the
Frontline Foundation he formed in 1987 to carry out his mission survived on a shoestring
budget and the food kept coming in.
A rotating staff of volunteers has helped assemble the meals in the basement kitchen of
the United Methodist Church in Sherman Oaks. The cupboards there are crammed with cans of
soup and fruit cocktail donated by individuals and San Fernando businesses.
Castellani served 111 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on his first trip to Skid Row.
He now uses nearly 150 loaves of bread to serve 1,000 such sandwiches, the Saturday
special, on an average weekend trip.
Los Angeles police said Thursday that they had no leads in tracking down the truck. On
Wednesday Night volunteers drove their own cars to Skid row to deliver meals. But how the
meals will get there in the future is uncertain.
Regardless, his determination to continue feeding the homeless on Skid Row in
"That food will be there," he said. "Those people will not be let down.
Not by me . . If I have to carry the food, it will be there."