There are a lot of expectations for what donations are most needed at a large emergency shelter like Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. Many of these expectations are completely true, eg: nonperishable food items, shirts, hats, blankets, etc. But there are a few things that we always need but seldom receive. So I am going to take this opportunity tell you about the top five out-of-the-box items that we use on a daily basis and why they are so important.
If you are anything like me, you have one great pair of sneakers and you wear them until they are worn down to almost nothing. By the time I buy a new pair of sneakers, the old ones are filled with holes and have a very thin sole. This is why I seldom donate my old athletic shoes. And this is also why Sunday Breakfast rarely has a supply of sneakers to be given away. Dress shoes may look nice (and are great for job interviews!) but when you spend a lot of your time outside, on your feet, or walking then dress shoes are just not that comfortable. This is why sneakers are (metaphorically) worth their weight in gold to Sunday Breakfast.
Men and women come in all shapes and sizes. And in order to help all kinds of people, most t-shirts or hoodies donated range from sizes Small to Extra Large. You might be saying, “that sounds great, those are all the sizes.” False. Those are most of the sizes. Unfortunately some of our larger guests require XXL to XXXL clothing. These larger men and women do not have the option of buying correctly sized clothing which is why it is so important that Sunday Breakfast is prepared to accommodate their needs before they ask.
Full Sized Shampoo:
For our long term guests, we help them settle in until they are ready to live an independent and productive life. These men will be with us for eight to twelve months (depending on how long it takes them to graduate from the Overcomer program). During this time, it is important that they make this building their home. Our abundance of travel sized shampoos, soaps, and conditioners is perfect for our Emergency Population but it makes the Overcomers feel like they are staying in a hotel rather than at their own house. Donating full sized toiletries helps these men feel at home and invest in their surroundings. It is a small but important shift in perspective.
Every day, the Mission goes through twenty six rolls of toilet paper rolls. People don’t talk about it but everybody needs it. Have you ever seen a sign that said, “Restrooms are for Customers Only”? The homeless men and women of Philadelphia do not have the privilege of using many restrooms around the city because they cannot afford to be considered a customer. Can you imagine the humiliation of being refused this very basic need? This is why our bathrooms are in constant use by those who don’t have anywhere else to go. Sunday Breakfast pays $14.63 a day for a privilege that most of us take for granted. Think outside the box: sponsor a day of free bathroom access for the Philly homeless today.
Our two thrift store locations are in desperate need of furniture. Between giving it away to ex-homeless individuals at our Bucks County Furniture Bank or selling it to provide more meals in Center City, we don’t have much furniture left. Approximately 26% of our income is provided by sales from our thrift stores. They are a vital part of keeping the Mission alive. Donated furniture can also be given away at the Bucks County Furniture Bank. Last year, they provided 398 pieces of furniture for ex-homeless individuals and families in Bucks County. Call the nearest store location for free pick up!
If you found this list interesting, then follow our constantly changing Pinterest board of most needed items. This is a great way of staying informed about the items that we need most when we need them. The needs may change but the reason is always the same: to end homelessness. Help us end homelessness donating these strange little things that make a big difference.
Have you ever experimented with upcycling? Or do you even know what it is? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to upcycle means to “Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.” Don’t worry, I am not going try to convince you to start upcycling. Instead, I want to share about what is already happening at the Sunday Breakfast Thrift Store in Penndel. Old, discarded, and mishandled items find new life with a little paint and a lot of patience. Volunteers rescue many “unsellable” items in order to transform them into beautiful “must haves.” I, personally, am always keeping tabs on what reinvented items come out of the old scraps. These forgotten pieces are remade then sold to provide funds to support Sunday Breakfast. It is the mission of Sunday Breakfast to help discarded members of our society transform into vital and productive individuals. These upcycled pieces of furniture sold are a symbol of the transformative power of love. The men and women in our Programs are not changed overnight. It takes months of sanding, varnishing, and countless coats of paint. It is never easy and not always fun but the results are spectacular. All proceeds from either of our Thrift Stores sustains the work done at the Mission. It is because of loyal thrift store customers that we are able to remain independent from government funding. Five of our program graduates are currently full time employees at the Mission’s BeeHive Thrift Store. They are an everyday reminder of how drastically lives can be changed. When a graduate is ready to move into their own place, furniture is provided for them at no charge. This resource is not just for members of our program, it is available to many ex-homeless individuals through our Bucks County Furniture Bank located at our Penndel Store. Come down to one of our SBRM Thrift Stores to support true transformations by purchasing items today. You can also support the Mission by donating your own pieces of furniture to be sold or given away for those in need.
BeeHive and BeeHive Too 7136 Rising Sun Avenue, Philadelphia, PA (215) 742-5060 Penndel Store 71 Bellevue Avenue, Penndel, PA (215) 741-1010 facebook.com/SBRMPenndelStore
Mon-Fri, 10 am to 5 pm Sat, 10 am to 4 pm Closed Sunday
Blog Post Written by: SBRM Blogger Abigail
When I was a kid, there was nothing quite so rewarding as spending the night in a makeshift tent of tattered blankets and dining room chairs. My brothers and I would agonize over the architecture of such masterpieces. Sometimes we’d design secret rooms or break out the cardboard for walls and floors. At night, we’d lie awake for hours in sweet victory, imagining our futures as great architects. Those were great times, but I always remember thinking after a while, “Gee whiz, I’m glad I don’t have to sleep in tents every night. This is a whole lot less comfortable than it looks.” In fact, I’d often peel away layers of blankets to slip back into my comfortable bed halfway through the night. Why? Because sleeping in tents may be fun for a few hours, but even kids understand the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep in a real bed. What I didn’t know then was that for many people my childhood “tent play” is a reality. Tragically, it’s even closer to home than we may think. In 2012, Bucks County alone had 142 homeless individuals and 458 homeless families. With only 185 beds available through emergency shelters, that left 273 people with no option but to find shelter in “tent cities,” which often erupt in violence and cannot provide enough warmth in winter’s coldest months.
|Photo take by Philly.com Photographer|
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission has had a full-time outreach worker, in Bucks County for two a years. He has connected clients to services, provided them with transportation, and helped care for their spiritual needs. Steve was a client who had a difficult time caring for himself while staying outdoors in the tent camps, especially in the winter. He struggled with mental illness, alcoholism, and had several cases of pneumonia. Through the outreach worker’s daily efforts, Steve’s life has changed. First, he was able to transition from staying in the camps to staying in a shelter. But this wasn’t the right fit, Steve needed to seek treatment at a rehab program. With prayer and the outreach worker’s help, Steve gladly enrolled in one. After successful completion of the program, he was able to move into his own apartment, complete with a bed that serves as a continual reminder of the upgrade from tent life. As you ponder this story, I encourage you to reflect on any “tent life” experiences in your own journey that remind you of the need for God’s constant provision. As you do so, consider how you can be involved with the homeless in your own community. We’ll continue to do so here at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, where God’s shelter is greater than any tents our hands can make.