Albuquerque, New Mexico

St. Martin’s Hospitality Center

We started our day in Albuquerque with the team at Good Day New Mexico where we talked about the mission, how great it has been to meet so many enthusiastic volunteers along the journey so far, and how others can help. Then we visited St. Martin’s Hospitality Center in Albuquerque where we helped prepare and serve lunch to those in need.

More about St. Martin’s Hospitality Center (from their website):

St. Martin’s Hospitality Center provides critical services for people experiencing homelessness and near homelessness. We provide:

  1. Mental Health/Behavioral Health/ Therapy and Recovery Services
  2. Housing
  3. Shelter/Emergency Support Services
  4. Employment Services/Coffee Shop Employment Lab.

St. Martin’s has been at the forefront of working to end homelessness for over 27 years and has recently started a new approach of attempting to end homelessness as we know it in the next five years. St. Martin’s was founded in 1985, and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a passion and mission to end homelessness one person at a time. St. Martin’s has been recognized for excellence in program delivery and outcome and is proud to report only a 9% admin cost compared with an industry standard that should not exceed 20%. Efficiency and efficacy are central to the mission of St. Martin’s, “To assist homeless and near homeless people by providing resources, opportunity and Hope.”

St. Martin’s Hospitality Center on the web:
Website
Facebook

 

 

Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks Community Food Bank

We stopped by the Fairbanks Food Bank to see how the organization and volunteers were serving the community in one of the farthest flung stops from home. I found an energetic and compassionate group dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of others, especially those spread out in communities with geographic accessibility challenges. Thanks to everybody in Fairbanks for being so warm and inviting!

More about the Fairbanks Community Food Bank (from their website)

Founded in 1982, the Fairbanks Community Food Bank collects and redistributes donated food to individuals and agencies. Food donations are received from the local community and about 100 commercial vendors. Food is distributed through many programs including Food Boxes, Bone Builders, and Agency Shopping.

The Fairbanks Community makes a difference in the lives of neighbors by sharing resources. The people of Fairbanks truly live the lessons taught by the Stone Soup Legend –– Fairbanks Style. The vision of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank is:

  • To have no one in the Tanana Valley die of starvation
  • To have no child in the Tanana Valley go hungry
  • To provide food assistance to everyone who meets federal poverty guidelines, if it is requested

Fairbanks Community Food Bank

Website
Facebook

 

Portland, Oregon

Oregon Food Bank

We visited the Oregon Food Bank in Portland, Oregon where we met a dedicated group of volunteers that not only work hard together, but also spend time together outside of the warehouse. They were a truly welcoming and loving community and it was hard not to immediately share in their spirit.

More about Oregon Food Bank (from their website):

We’re probably not what you expect when you think of a food bank. In Oregon, we do things differently.

We started off like most food banks did back in 1988. That’s when Interagency Food Bank and Oregon Food Share merged to become Oregon Food Bank, and we distributed USDA Commodity Supplemental Food to over 200 hunger-relief agencies.

Today, Oregon Food Bank collects food from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources. We distribute that food through a Statewide Network of 21 Regional Food Banks and approximately 970 partner agenciesserving all of Oregon and Clark County, Washington.

It seems like a big job, and it is. We absolutely couldn’t do it alone. But, distributing food is not the entire job. Like we said – we do things differently in Oregon.

St. Vincent de Paul on the web:
Website
Facebook

New York City, New York

St. Paul’s House

St. Paul’s House is an NYC institution (you might remember their sign from the opening credits of SNL) and on the last Tuesday of every month (September – May) they have pizza and movie night. My friend Aegina and I were able to help out (and I might have snagged a slice of pizza along the way) and make new friends.

More about St. Paul’s House (from their website):

St. Paul’s House is a multifaceted ministry located on NYC’s West Side. It is an independent training center for Christian leaders who feel called to work in ministry. It has been at the crossroads of America for over 60 years for many lives. In 1945, Rev. J.J.D. Hall and Creighton Dunlap purchased a brownstone tenement in Hell’s Kitchen. Because of their appreciation for the ministry of the Apostle and their Episcopal background, they chose to name the building St. Paul’s House.

Rev. Hall was a fiery street preacher who had already earned the title “Bishop of Wall Street” because of his street meetings held daily in the financial district. Creighton Dunlap was a former real estate agent who heard “Dad” Hall preaching and committed his life to Christ and evangelism. He served with Rev. Hall as a co-founder. Together in 1939, they started the first sermon telephone ministry in America.

St. Paul’s House began as a training center for believers who wanted to learn and experience inner-city ministry. Over its 60 year history, St. Paul’s House has helped educate and train hundreds of student workers preparing for ministry life. Because of today’s needs, the house now serves as a mission house with providing services with food, adult and youth to those in need that live in the neighborhood. We also provide internship opportunities for young adults who are passionate about building the Kingdom of God.

The St. Paul’s House cross has become somewhat of a novelty on New York’s Westside. Photographed by tourist and newspapers alike, it has been a part in the opening credits of a popular Saturday night variety show and appeared in a recent Hollywood movie. When the mission has closed it’s doors for the evening the cross continues to shine it’s message into the night.

St. Paul’s House on the web:
Website
Facebook

 

 

Norwalk, Connecticut

withtroy

Red Cross of Fairfield County

One of the things I resolved to do this year in conjunction with the Be Local Everywhere project was to give blood, when able, wherever I am. Back in March I donated in Clark County, Washington. By the time I got to Connecticut, the requisite 58 day waiting period between donations had passed.

And that’s how I found myself (along with my good friend, Aegina) at the Red Cross of Fairfield County in Norwalk, Connecticut. I’ve given blood plenty of times (though not as much as I should have, especially in the last few years), but I have never had a more skilled Red Cross worker than my new friend, Troy, in Norwalk. Everybody should go visit her!

More about the Red Cross (from their website):

Each day, thousands of people – people just like you – provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world.

We roll up our sleeves and donate time, money and blood. We learn or teach life-saving skills so our communities can be better prepared when the need arises. We do this every day because the Red Cross is needed – every day.

Red Cross on the web:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Rockville, Maryland

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

I was fortunate to hang out with the folks from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Rockville, MD over the Memorial Day Weekend. The volunteer request asked for people to hang out with a shelter dog for the afternoon, become friends with the dog, and answer any questions prospective adopters might have (breed, age, philosophies towards children and cats).

The above photo is of me and my canine pal, Cream.

As you can imagine, it’s a nice way to spend an afternoon going on walks, lying in the grass, feeling the sun, and just generally being outdoors in the company of a loving dog. It was also a bit tough to say goodbye at the end of the day. But it was also nice to know that a lot of families were interested in Cream and

More about Lucky Dog Animal Rescue (from their website):

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving forever homes.  We educate the community and all pet parents on responsible pet parenting, including the importance of spay/neuter, obedience training, and good nutrition.

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue on the web:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

 

 

Newark, Delaware

 

Little Sisters of the Poor

I was fortunate enough to speak with many of the residents, help with serving lunch, and even made some great new friends.

More about Little Sisters of the Poor (from their website):

As Little Sisters of the Poor we care for the elderly poor in the spirit of humble service we have received from our foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan. We welcome the elderly as we would Jesus Christ himself and serve them with love and respect until God calls them home.

Little Sisters of the Poor on the web:
Website

Warminster, Pennsylvania

Direct Action

I love nature. It’s something relatively new in my life to go out on long hikes to appreciate wildlife and the quiet. It has become essential to me. And that’s why it was such a natural opportunity and a blessing to do trash pick up along the banks of the Little Neshaminy Creek at Kemper Park in Warminster, Pennyslvania. My friend Kiri and I walked between four and five miles and were treated to birds, squirrels, the easy current of the creek as we went. We worked with the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania (part of the larger Keep America Beautiful). Anybody can go out and pick up garbage, but if you want trash bags, gloves, vests, and a group of others to go with you, be sure to check out your local chapter.

More Information:
Keep America Beautiful

Paramus, New Jersey

Paramus Veterans Home

My friends Bill Gordon and Thomas Pluck joined me at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus where we played Bingo with the residents. The experience was real and joyful and heartbreaking at the same time. It was great to hear some fantastic stories of lives lived, and it hurt to hear the stories of lives lost. It shifted my perspective in a meaningful way and I am sure I won’t forget it anytime soon.

More about Veterans Home in Paramus (from their website):

This facility, located on 23-acres in northeastern Bergen County, opened on August 4, 1986. It has two modern residential buildings, able to accommodate 336 residents, and two fenced-in garden areas. In the courtyard, near the main entrance, a monument stands in memory of those who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The facility is conveniently located off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 165.

We are Medicare A Certified. Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and surveyed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Paramus Veterans Home on the web:
Website

Salt Lake City, Utah

Direct Action

One of the things I wanted to explore when I started this project was the differences between “online friendships” and those people we know in the “real” world. I’d known Ben and Chels through Twitter for more than a year, but I’d never met either of them in person.

Until now.

Ben, in his professional capacity, manages a Smashburger restaurant in Draper, UT. He was able to secure permission (and food!) from corporate headquarters for the three of us to distribute to the homeless in Salt Lake City. It’s great to see companies acting responsibly in their communities. Big thank you to Smashburger, Ben, and Chels.