The national spotlight will be on Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention July 25-28. In an effort to prepare for this high-profile event, city officials are installing additional beds in city shelters and increasing the number of outreach workers on the ground to help the homeless community.
Anytime a prominent event happens in the city, our homeless brothers and sisters seem to be displaced as official’s work to get things in order for the thousands of guests that will flood the region. Most recently, this occurred when all eyes were on the city last fall for the World Meeting of Families and the Papal Visit. Security barricades and restricted zones, pushed our homeless friends further into the margins, making travel difficult, and finding shelter and food almost impossible.
Despite these hardships, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission was open, and the staff was ready to care for anyone in need that came to our door. Our history of 138 years of service will continue during the DNC as it does every day. We will carry out our mission of helping the hungry, homeless, and hurting in the greater Philadelphia area. During the week of the DNC, we will be hard at work caring for our homeless neighbors and you can too. Here are 5 simple ways you can get involved:
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission will be open and operate as normal the week of the DNC. We will continue our daily tradition of serving three meals a day. We welcome volunteers to come and lend a helping hand, as our homeless friends share meals with us in our air conditioned building. We could see an increase of guests for meals that week, and could always use the extra help! If this sounds like a good fit for you then fill out a Volunteer Application here.
TWO: PROVIDE BOTTLED WATER
Although our guests may come share meals with us during the day, some will leave our facility and enter back into the heat. Bottled water will come in handy for the guests who choose to join in on the excitement. Help provide bottled water so our homeless brothers and sisters stay hydrated in the heat. To make a donation contact our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THREE: SPREAD THE WORD
If you learn of someone in need of a place to stay during the DNC or any other day of the year, please direct them to the Sunday Breakfast emergency shelter located at the corner of 13th and Vine streets. Beginning at 7 p.m. each night, our men’s emergency shelter will be admitting guests. Our emergency shelter holds 180 beds, and we can make provisions for additional guests should we reach overflow status.
Every day, Sunday Breakfast staff are in prayer for the safety of our homeless friends. Please join us in prayer for the safety of the city’s homeless community during the convention, as well as our city as a whole. We need to always remember to come together and help one another every day, but especially when our city hosts a big event that may displace some of our homeless neighbors.
It’s because of generous supporters like you, that Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission remains in operation 365 days a year. Help support the homeless community in Philadelphia, by ensuring the Mission remains a resource for those in need, regardless of the activities that are happening in our city. Donate today and help change the lives of homeless men, women, and children in the greater Philadelphia region!
The temperatures are on the rise in Philadelphia, and weather forecasts show that the region will see several 90 degree days! On days like these, I can avoid the heat by spending hours at the pool, staying hydrated with cold glasses of water, and relaxing in the air conditioning. However, that is not the case for many homeless men and women.
Excessively hot days can be miserable for our homeless brothers and sisters who have no place to go. On mornings when I walk to Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, I see homeless individuals seeking shade beneath underpasses or resting underneath the awning of a vacant storefront in an effort to stay cool.
Hot days can be unbearable when I don’t have access to air conditioning, but then I think about how much more miserable it is for homeless men and women who don’t have access to it on a regular basis. For our homeless friends, hot days don’t just offer several hours of temporary uneasiness like they do for me. The heat can bring weeks of discomfort as our homeless neighbors struggle to stay cool and hydrated on the city streets.
Because of supporters like you, Sunday Breakfast can be a beacon of hope in the heat this summer. We see an influx of guests seeking shelter in our cool, air conditioned building, while enjoying a satisfying meal and something refreshing to drink. During hot days, the air conditioned dinning room stays open after meals so our guests don’t have to venture out into the hot sun.
Along with staying cool, staying hydrated throughout the day is important for our guests. When our homeless friends come to the Mission they can drink as much water as they want. However, when they choose to leave we don’t always have bottled water to give them before they go. Bottled water is an essential item we need this summer, because our guests can easily transport it, and it guarantees they’ll have something to drink throughout the day.
During my time at Sunday Breakfast, I have learned that it doesn’t take much to impact someone’s life in a significant way. I’ve always wanted to make a difference by helping people in big ways. But in many cases, it is the small things we do that have a lasting impact.
Sunday Breakfast began changing the lives of homeless men in the late 1800’s by offering them bread and cups of coffee. And you and I can continue that Mission of helping our homeless neighbors by blessing them with bottled water in this summer heat.
To learn how you can donate bottled water to the hungry, homeless, and hurting email our volunteer coordinator at email@example.com.
Being one of the first interns to work on the Sunday Breakfast Farm was a joyful experience for Overcomer Greg. He shares his experience and a bit of his story in the video above – Grow Food Where You Live – filmed by Natasha Cohen-Carroll through Asian Arts Initiative.
In the rain or in sunny weather, Greg said he found himself working alongside local artist and urban farmer Meei Ling Ng, who spearheaded the farm effort with AAI more than a year ago.
“Plants need to be maintained, brought along – they need to be pruned so they can grow … it’s just like us,” Greg said. “Down the line, it turns into something beautiful, and into something someone can get something from.”
“After all this destruction,” Greg continues, “I did in my life to myself, I get some joy out of this. I can see something grow and put a smile one someone’s face.”
Overcomer Greg, and other Overcomers in the program, have learned the basics of farming under Meei Ling. She has taught them everything from planting seeds to cultivating and harvesting produce, much of which was brought to the plates of the homeless men and women the Mission serves.
Meei Ling began working with the Overcomers, staff, and volunteers at the Mission and volunteers from the local community in February 2015. Together they set up a farm and art installation in the Mission’s parking lot along Vine Street. Since it launched last winter, the Farm has become a venue for food education, food production, and community building.
“What inspired me to do this … Sunday Breakfast Farm was to use my art to draw attention about food insecurity,” Meei Ling says in the video. “Growing food where you live is part of the solution.”
The farm has provided approximately one ton of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers that have been used in the Sunday Breakfast kitchen, distributed to members of the community, and sold at local farmers markets to benefit the Farm.
In preparation for the 2016 farming season, Meei Ling is working closely with a group of apprentice’s from the Mission and teaching them how to maintain the Farm. In addition to the apprentices, the farm is also dependent on dedicated volunteers that lend a helping hand.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Sunday Breakfast Farm contact the Mission’s volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also support projects like the Farm by donating funds because these projects are made possible through donations. Your support helps educate homeless men and women about healthy, sustainable eating, that can have a positive impact on their lives for years to come!
Time Out of Mind is a new film in select theaters which deals with the realities of homelessness. Try to take the time to see it (at the Ritz East in Philly) or stream it on Xfinity on Demand.
In the film, Time Out of Mind everything is “reduced.” George, played by Richard Gere, is reduced to the life of a homeless man. Producer and lead actor Richard Gere is reduced of his fame as people walk by him on the street assuming that he is not an award winning actor. Writer-director Oren Moverman is reduced of his control as he willingly let go of the reigns of the script and let the story tell itself. The film itself is stark and honest because it has been reduced of popular music, character backstory, or fast paced action.
Time Out of Mind in all of its necessary reductions captures the honest life of someone on the street. Men and women experiencing homelessness have had their humanity stripped away. We stop seeing them as people and we start seeing them as scenery. In one scene, Richard Gere begs for change on the street without a single person looking into his eyes. Instead of being mobbed by fans, Gere is ignored and dehumanized.
“There are no bad guys in this movie,” Gere explains unapologetically. The daily struggles of someone battling homelessness is enough of a challenge that the film does not need an antagonist.
Just as there are no bad guys there are also no answers. There isn’t one simple solution to homelessness. Every person is complicated and every person needs to be treated differently. This is why families, churches, businesses, service organizations and strangers need to work together to help each individual person in the way that works best for them.
“And this is our Emergency Shelter, where we have 180 beds for men who need a place to stay for the night. Upstairs we have an additional 40 beds for those who choose to enter our Long-term Overcomer Program, which makes over 200 beds total in this building alone.” As we approached the end of our tour, today’s volunteers were shocked to discover just how many services we provide in our tucked away building here on 13th and Vine. We talked about the Mission, what we do, and how we do it, but there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself. This has grown to be my favorite part of giving tours before a group begins their volunteer service. It’s when all the information—all the programs, statistics, & facts, translate into the reality of our purpose.
Since joining the team here as Volunteer & Marketing Coordinator three weeks ago, I’ve been exposed to a world that I never could have imagined would touch me in the way that it has in such a short amount of time. Every day I come to work inspired by the joy of our Overcomers, a title which could not possibly be more fitting. Already, they’ve taught me that to overcome our struggles doesn’t mean that our circumstances have necessarily changed, but that we’ve found something invaluable in the midst of them—hope. It’s that same hope that I’ve seen motivate them to seek more and work to move from just being those who are loved, rescued, and trained, to becoming those who love, rescue, and train.
And it’s not just the inspiration of the Overcomers that has made my time here so impacting.The staff and volunteers have played a big part in that as well. I’ve found that people who genuinely care about the well-being of others aren’t as rare as most might think. I won’t quickly forget the 8th grader who, after serving water and food to our guests for lunch, then sat down and ate with them as one of our Overcomers shared a funny story.
Everyone, at some point in their life, encounters a place that restores their faith in the goodness of people. For me, that place has quickly become Sunday Breakfast. Helping the hungry, homeless, and hurting isn’t just the slogan here, it’s the mission. And during my time here so far, I’ve been fortunate enough to see it in action every single day. I’m so excited to be a part of the team here at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, and I can’t wait to see what we, with your help and support, continue to accomplish together in our community.
Thank you and see you soon,