Around this time a few years ago, I was having lunch with a friend and venting how flustered I was that Christmas was around the corner and I had not even begun all the shopping I needed to get done, which would of course put me out hundreds of dollars. Later, on my way home that day I was walking past a Dunkin Donuts when a homeless man approached me and asked me if I could buy him some coffee. I happily agreed and went into the Dunkin Donuts where I bought the man a coffee and a meal. While this is something I commonly do when asked by someone in need, it was the man’s appreciation that got to me. He was profusely thankful and showered me in God-blesses and kind words.
This was also the same day that I realized how buying that four dollar meal was as rewarding – if not more so – than any one Christmas gift I gave that year.
Charity and giving to those is need has always been imperative to me. I am human and yes, I want materialistic things, but I am also very aware of my good fortunes and even more aware that not everyone has the opportunities that I do. When I found Sunday Breakfast (SB) in hopes of volunteering for dinner service, I never knew how much the shelter would impact my life and how involved I would become.
While the Mission is home to a few rescues including a women and children’s facility, I personally have involved myself in the men’s rescue located at 13th and Vine Street in Center City, Philadelphia. This facility provides nightly housing (and meals) for over 200 men and is also the home for the members of the Overcomers Program. This program is designed to take men off of the street and uses tools like scheduling, education, and internships to help them rebuild their lives and move back into working society. It is the men in this program that have displayed what real strength and courage is.
My relationship with SB has been insightful and humbling. I have learned so much about the homeless community and have even been fortunate enough to learn the stories of some of the men. These stories really opened my eyes to the world of the homeless. These are not just people begging you for money on the street. They are real human beings with lives and families and stories – just like the rest of us.
Meeting the groups of men within the Overcomers program over the past few years has only fueled my passion in helping them. I have first hand seen how much a program like this has changed the lives of these individuals and I am determined to spread their cause.
There are many ways that you can give to the SB family; whether it’s volunteering at their kitchen during dinner service, or making a donation to the organization. However, nothing helps the rescue more than contributing to their Fall Food Drive. The Food Drive allows the shelter to serve an all-day Thanksgiving to the homeless community of Philadelphia and in true Thanksgiving fashion – even allows the community to get seconds. Along with canned goods, the men’s shelter is in need of practical items such as socks, underwear, warm clothing, and sneakers.
If you currently live in Philadelphia and want to help collect these goods for the Fall Food Drive, round up your belongings and drop them off at 302 N 13th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107. You can also call the rescue to schedule a delivery at 215-922-6400.
If you are interested in donating to Sunday Breakfast or have any questions about how you can help, feel free to email the volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All content in this post was written by Rachel in Flight.
By this time of year, we have all drank, baked, and otherwise eaten enough pumpkin spice flavored goodies to last us the whole year through. But as we light cinnamon flavored candles, the homeless in Philadelphia should not be forgotten. This year Sunday Breakfast is hosting our most ambitious Thanksgiving to-date. Instead of doing a more traditional cafeteria style meal, we will be having an All Day Thanksgiving Meal!
Volunteers will transform themselves into waiters for a day and deliver the food to the tables for a restaurant style experience for the homeless men and women. Over sixty volunteers have been scheduled and are ready to get to work on the big day.
In 2013 alone, the much smaller Thanksgiving Meal served 557 individuals. This year, the All Day Thanksgiving will care for more people than ever before. It will be served to homeless men and women with a true family experience. Not only that but serving time has doubled to a four hour block from noon to four with seconds included.
At my family’s thanksgiving, no one would bat an eyelash at someone reaching for another of my grandmother’s famous rolls. In fact, we would probably think you were coming down with something if you didn’t. To promote this family atmosphere, those who attend will be allowed to receive seconds if they desire it.
The kitchen is gearing up for the big day with impressive precision. Although many donations are expected to arrive within the next few weeks, we are currently behind schedule because of the size of our planned Thanksgiving. Despite this fact, we will not be decreasing our plans by one sweet potato because the homeless men and women in our community are already planning on attending.
Traditionally 80% of the year’s non-perishable food donations are given during the Fall Food Drive. This is why November is most definitely our month of thankfulness because we are very thankful for the support of those who partner with Sunday Breakfast to make this impressive Food Drive possible.
You see, the Fall Food Drive is for more than Thanksgiving, it is an investment in the rest of our year. It is because of the Fall Food Drive donations that we are able to serve three warm meals every day of the year. On average the Mission provides meals for 600 men each day. The Mission’s services go beyond food as more than 200 men find shelter each night.
If you have not contributed to the Fall Food Drive, please consider donating anything from the smallest can to the largest turkey to make this Thanksgiving Meal possible.