St1004 or Street Angel (St is an abbreviation for street and 1004 has the same pronunciation as angel in Korean), starts the day not in the morning but at night. Established in December 1997, St1004 is a volunteer group that helps to prevent the homeless from committing suicide or dying from the cold. On November 14, two Ewha Voice reporters joined St1004’s service which runs from to
“St1004 is special since we go and visit homeless people rather than have them come to see us. Also, we visit them late at night. This is because there are many places where they can get food during the day, but at night, there is rarely any helping hand for them,” said Cho Juong-hee, the manager of St1004. St1004 visits four places every night: Euljiro 3-ga, Euljiro 1-ga, City Hall and Jonggak Stations. At Eujiro 3-ga station, St1004 quickly set up the food. Since the service has been going on for 10 years, homeless people line up quickly. Then, the food is distributed promptly. By the volunteers uttering, “Cheer up!” “Homeless people rarely have hope. So encouraging them with a warm comment and smile is what they need the most,” said Cho. About 200 people every day, from four places, receive help and care from St1004.
At Euljiro 1-ga station, Cho writes something down on his sky blue notebook and constantly refers to a yellow notebook. “I write down the requests of homeless people. Some people ask me to give them medicine, pair of socks or shoes, and I try to give them the next time. The yellow book contains information for homeless people, like where and when you can receive free meals and other aids,” said Cho.
At Jonggak Station, one homeless bows as he sees St1004 and says, “If I find a job, I will buy something for you all.” Around the night service comes to an end. As they did in every other place, St1004 make a final bow to homeless people and get ready to depart.
“Helping the homeless is like reaching out a hand to a person who is about to fall down. If we reach out our hands before they fall, we can save many valuable lives,” said Cho.