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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Our 13th Street Location had a very special visitor this weekend during one of our meal services. With a pair of glasses squared on his nose, a determined smile lining his mouth, and cape fastened around his neck flowing behind him as he stepped around the corner, our unique visitor entered the Mission’s dining room. Super Overcomer. That’s the name of the persona that one of the men in our Overcomer Program took on this past Saturday.
You see, although there are several places within the city of Philadelphia to find a warm meal,
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission is the only one doing it 3 times a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. With that kind of consistency comes a certain amount of regular guests at our meal services. For one of our regular families, last Saturday was the birthday of their youngest son. And in honor of this momentous occasion, one of our Overcomers dawned a cape made out of a bed sheet and presented this young man with a specially wrapped package of candy—just for him. Our chef on duty was even able to give him a cupcake to celebrate and smiles radiated throughout the dining room as everyone wished him a happy birthday.
Days like this are special. Not just because someone turns a year older, but because it brings back a bit of normalcy to an otherwise inconsistent lifestyle. As any parent knows, celebrating a young child’s birthday is a major milestone, and often a huge event. Typically the entire family’s schedules are planned around that day’s festivities. Family, friends, children, and parents all come together to commemorate another year’s arrival. For our guests, we are that family, and those friends, supporting those children on their special day.
And it’s our desire to see that become just the beginning of something more. The support that we give to the people in our programs is something that we always hope would inspire further action. For many of our guests, that first spark towards beginning a renewed, restored, life is lit during an evening meal before bed. For others, it’s a clean sweatshirt and pair of shoes without holes in them on a cold day. Whichever service our guests are in need of when they come to see us, we encourage them to give hope to others as freely as it was given to them.
Here at the Mission, our parties may not be as elaborate as the ones that many of us are used to—with piñatas and portable bouncy houses. And everyone in attendance may not be able to take home Guardians of the Galaxy themed party favors, but for those brief moments, the smile on that excited young boy’s face was enough to make us all feel like superheroes.