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5 Apps to Fight Homelessness

Apps 1

Guest Blog Post by Hannah DeMarco

Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission Executive Assistant to the CEO


I might be ever-so-slightly obsessed with my smartphone.

When I’m not busy playing Pokémon Go or scrolling through Instagram, I compulsively whip out my phone to document every moment of my life. And how could I not explore a Snapchat filter or two?

Let’s face it. For many of us, smartphones are second nature.

But what does that have to do with combating homelessness?

While helping our homeless friends may seem much more difficult than tapping a screen, sometimes that’s all it takes to make a difference in someone’s life. So next time you wonder what you can do to help, look no further than the glowing screen in your pocket or purse.

Here are five awesome apps you can use to help the hungry, homeless, and hurting in Philadelphia today, and the best part is, all of these you can access on either your iPhone, Android, or the web!

Donafy

Apps 2Think Pokémon Go – but instead of finding Pokémon, you can discover nearby nonprofits to support. Created by Philadelphian Nikki Johnson-Huston, this handy app allows users to give locally. If you are in Philadelphia, find Sunday Breakfast on Donafy to donate using the app!

Food Connect

As the good Italian I am, I hate the thought of wasting food.  Give me a heaping plate for dinner, and I will be sure to eat ALL of it.  But big events often end with a surplus too big for an Italian to devour. By using Food Connect, you can give away extra food to local shelters.  If you host an event with an abundance of leftovers, log into the app to donate your food to fill the bellies of your hungry homeless neighbors here at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission.

Twitter

Tweeting isn’t just for the birds.  Stay current with our latest news by following us on Twitter. Tweet @phillyhomeless with any questions or to tell us about an experience you had volunteering with us.

Facebook

Make the endless Facebook scrolling worthwhile.  “Like” us on Facebook to learn more about our story, watch videos, and engage in conversation. This is also a great way to donate and discover who is connected with us!

Instagram

If, like me, you’re a fan of engaging photos, follow us on Instagram. We regularly update our feed with photos of Mission volunteers and guests, including inspiring stories and information on how you can get involved. Fancy yourself a photographer? Tag @phillyhomeless to be a featured advocate for Sunday Breakfast.

It only takes a few clicks to help those surrounding us as we move about the city we love. Make some room on your phone, download these apps, and join a community of advocates with Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission.

Top 5 Unexpected Items Sunday Breakfast Always Needs

 

Unexpected Items

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.

 

Sneakers:

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.

 

XXXL Shirts:

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.

 

Toilet Paper

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.

 

Furniture

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.

Five Ways to Spread Christmas Cheer

 

Christmas Cheer.fw

As cliché as it sounds: Christmas is about giving.  Giving cheer, giving presents, and (most of all) giving love.  Sometimes we forget this when we are all bogged down with ugly sweater parties, cookie eating contests, and shopping trips.  We get so caught up in the present-buying mindset that we forget to have a truly generous spirit.

This is why I have compiled a list of a few easy, fun, and inexpensive ways for you to spread Christmas cheer with a happy heart.  Don’t worry; they won’t take too much time out of your already hectic schedule.Christmas Cards for the Homeless.fw

A Few Extra Christmas Cards

Whether you are writing, creating, or coloring in Christmas cards: make a few extra and send them to a homeless person who will be spending Christmas Eve at Sunday Breakfast.  Either write something from the heart or copy a meaningful quote.  Trust me, they need Christmas cheer just as much (or more) than a lot of people on your list.

Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission
P.O. Box 297
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Warm a Heart

Next time you make your morning Starbucks or DD run, pay for the person behind you in line at the drive through. It is cold outside, so help warm a stranger up with a simple cup of coffee.

Don’t Forget the Classics

Now I am a die-hard Hallmark Christmas Movie fan but some among us might not enjoy their cheesy and predictable plots.  Pick out a top notch Christmas movie and watch it as a family.  My top suggestion?  Elf, Rudolf, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, The Grinch, or Frozen (well at least it is cold).

The Light Sights

Drive (or walk) around to see the Christmas Lights.  If you live in Philly then there are tons of places for you to see some fantastic lights. If you really like some of the decorations, then be sure to tell the person who put them up!  Leave a candy cane and note saying, “Good job on the lights.”  But don’t put it in the mailbox (that’s a felony).

Frozen in Time

If you have children, then I bet they are pretty cute.  Share them with your friends and relatives!  Make a short home video to send to geographically challenged loved ones.  Even if you don’t have children, it is a fun way to show that you care.

Regardless of the size, random acts of kindness can have a big effect on someone’s day (and possibly life).  This season is very depressing for the people who have no family left.  So spend a little time this Christmas season making someone else’s holiday season a little brighter.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.