Monday, January 11, 2010

"Where's My Tip At?"...Day 6

Hello loyal readers! Helen and I have decided that since our fan base has grown so rapidly, we need to be more organized and supply some statistics and percentages (you know...math) to properly illustrate our time here. But we will keep it in simple terms you can other are reading a blog written by us: a Music and an English major.

First of all, we officially left our first member behind at the metro. Let's just say that Pooja did not want to stay at the Metro Center fifteen extra minutes after getting her leg stuck in the door. But snaps for your commitment, Pooja! So, now we have...

0 days since man left behind (or woman)
0 days since we abstained from Starbucks...twice in one day
1 day since black squirrel sighting
2 days since someone has shouted "ROLL TIDE!" in random conversation....wait, make that 0
30 seconds since someone has commented on how AWESOME our blog is

Now, let's talk some service.

Today was unusual in the sense that we spent the majority of our day at one place. We woke up exceptionally early (5:30am for the late sleepers) in order to arrive at SOME (So Others May Eat) in time to prepare breakfast. Even though we only observed the kitchen aspect, SOME offers many other programs to serve the local homeless such as life skills and amenities for showers. This is the first time the entire team worked on the serving side as opposed to working in the kitchen. Our duties were to serve breakfast, help clean the dining room for the lunch shift, and then eventually serve lunch. The team enjoyed participating in an organization's entire day, as opposed to the three hour shifts we have been accustomed to. In general, one of our favorite parts of service in D.C. so far has been the people we have worked with, and SOME was a great example of this contagious positive energy. One of our supervisors, Michelle, had nicknames for everyone by the end of the day and even taught VA the cupid shuffle during a break between shifts. Kent was known as "Clark Kent", and Ben was deemed "Dick Tracy". When asked if he'd like any sugar, one man told Kait he would very much like "two...and one on the jaw." Good day.

After one of our many ritual Starbucks stops (and no, we are not receiving compensation for the overload of advertising..but we're open for discussion), we headed over to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This was our first chance to sit down and discuss policy and advocacy with one of the leading national non-profit, non-partisan organizations dealing with the fight against homelessness. What is especially interesting about many organizations across the board is the new push for prevention of homelessness, as opposed to the "management" of it. The National Alliance is promoting the more recently acknowledged concept of first dealing with permanent housing and then addressing recovery from issues such as substance abuse and unemployment. They and many other important advocacy agencies have found this method effective, and in turn, one of their top priorities is to spread awareness about this topic. We even discussed current policy such as the bills concerning homeless veteran affairs and housing options. Of course, the organization articulates it best, here is a link:

We really encourage our many readers to study this topic. If we can leave you with one over-arching thought that we learned today, it would be this: while we often link "serving the homeless" to soup kitchens and handing out our change when asked, policy is a very important part of preventing homelessness that the general public is not always aware of.

So as Caitlin Barringer would say, "this is gold...let's go digging."

From the "Real Women of Alabama" (in D.C.) Mike, Kent, and Ben. Til next time,

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