Spring 2011 Issue 18
From The Director
DDB Mission: Feed the hungry & provide services for the homeless of in the audience. Harrisburg.
On February 16, 2011, I attended a taping at WITF for “One Step Away: A Community Forum on Homelessness.” The panel, comprised of human service providers from Dauphin, Cumberland, and Lancaster counties, aired on March 1. As a member of CACH (Capital Area Coalition Against Homelessness), I was invited to be
The discussion began with each panelist explaining his or her community program and Inside This Issue: how it impacted the homeless. Many challenges and frustrations were aired along with the overall plight of the homeless, the growth of homelessness, the role of drugs and • WITF Special Program alcohol, and the mentally ill homeless. Some approaches to help end homelessness, such • Client Story as “housing first,” along with the need for employment training, low income housing, • Lunch Plus Services • Gold Humanism Society and drug and rehabilitation programs were discussed. Providing food for the hungry was recognized as the essential first step to helping the homeless and needy of the • Staff Changes community. • Wish List • Renovations As I listened to the discussion that evening, several thoughts sprung to mind. First, I • Client Report thought of the Great Depression. Our economy is not nearly as bleak as the conditions in the 1930s. During those times, people came together to set up emergency soup kitchens. Downtown Most of those kitchens closed as the economy improved. Today, soup kitchens exist in Daily Bread every major city and we have no expectations of their closing in the foreseeable future. 310 N. Third Street Why are there so many people living on the streets in this country? Why are there so Harrisburg PA many ex-offenders among the homeless? Why is there an increase in female offenders? 17101 Has drug and alcohol use contributed to our overburdened prisons? Why are there so www.downtowndailybread.org many mentally ill people? What can we do to help them when they are not willing to receive treatment? Questions, questions, questions... Elaine Strokoff As I try to answer these questions, I go back and forth between the “chicken and the Executive Director egg.” We know that generational poverty begets generational poverty. If children do not 717-238-4717 have the luck or drive to break out of poor physical and emotional environments, they Brenda Ervin will most likely produce another generation of poverty. I also know that if children Kitchen Manager continue to have children, we will continue to hear news reports of “5 children under the 717-238-4718 age of 7 living in filthy, insect infested rooms with no sign of a parent present.” Children Cody R. Thomas Weekend Cook who do not have a secure home with loving, responsible parents, rarely do well. What 717-238-4718 are their chances of becoming educated, law-abiding, respectful members of society? Christine Patrick Does homelessness start with the “chicken or the egg”? Client Caseworker Speaking of “eggs”…have a wonderful spring, this beautiful time of renewal and new 717-238-4718 beginnings. Linda McGuire DDB News Editor
We welcome your suggestions, comments, and feedback.
Note: If you missed the original airing of the program, you can watch it online at www.witf.org. The video link for the special is: http://video.witf.org/video/1825968491
Quote: “There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.” Jan Schakowsky, IL Congresswoman
Welcome New DDB Weekend Cook Longtime DDB weekend cook, Blondie Doleman, secured a full-time position with the food service department at Harrisburg Hospital in November 2010. Due to a conflict with work schedules on weekends and holidays, she was unable to continue at DDB. Cody Thomas was hired in January to take her place. Cody is a graduate of the Channels Cooking School. Please introduce yourself if you see him in the kitchen. We wish him well and welcome him to the DDB family. Everyone on the DDB staff is encouraged to work as a team with one idea in mind, to care for those in need.
PLEASE JOIN US You are invited to the annual DDB Concert on April 8, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. The Music at Pine Street series will present its annual concert to benefit Downtown Daily Bread. The concert will feature the Pine Street Quartet: Courtney Gray, Beverly Hudson, Jonathon Hudson, and John Sharpe. They will perform a program of popular opera arias, duos, trios, and quartets from all the great operatic literature. Attendees will enjoy a delightful evening of music. A free will offering for DDB will be accepted and refreshments will be served after the concert. Thank you to all our musicians, event volunteers and organizers, and to those of you who plan to attend. We appreciate your continued support!
2nd Chances – Where Are They Now? With all the recent national media coverage, you’ve probably heard the story of Ted Williams – The Homeless Guy With The Golden Voice. He is a former radio announcer-turned-homeless guy who used to panhandle on a highway ramp in Columbus, Ohio. Luckily, with his hand-scrawled sign proclaiming “gift of voice”, he caught the attention of a local reporter and was given a second chance. Williams told the reporter that he worked in the business for many years but then fell on hard times after getting involved with drugs and alcohol. Then two years sober, he said he hoped that this little stunt on a highway ramp might catch someone’s attention and land him a job. Well, it worked. He received a flood of job opportunities including an offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately, Mr. Williams has experienced a set back. It is not unusual; we hope that he can resume his past life and career. Another well-known success story dubbed “From Homeless To Harvard” is the true story of Elizabeth (Liz) Murray. She is an inspirational speaker who is best known for being homeless in her youth and her desire to achieve success. In addition to having her memoir published, her story has also been featured in a three-time Emmy nominated TV movie. At 15, Liz Murray found herself living on the streets after her mentally ill, drug-addicted parents faltered in their attempts to keep their family together. Instead of crumbling, the troubled teen clung to hope and determination, and worked her way up and out of homelessness - all the way to Harvard University. These inspiring stories make us realize that it is sometimes possible for someone to turn his or her life around given the right opportunity, hard work, and determination. At DDB we believe that everyone should have a second chance. Downtown Daily Bread clients include both the homeless and the working poor; individuals who are struggling to improve their lives. The services offered at DDB could be the pivotal turning point for them. With your help, we are making a difference in the lives of others throughout Harrisburg. Won’t you please join us in offering hope to someone in need today in Central PA?
DDB Renovations If you have visited DDB recently, we might have noticed that some much needed renovations have been completed. These repairs include: • Installation of additional wall coverings • Installation of exhaust fans • Touch-up painting of walls and doors • Stainless steel counter tops in the kitchen • Repainting entrance doors, etc.
Who Belongs To The Gold Humanism Society? DDB is pleased to welcome back a group of Penn State College of Medicine student volunteers. These third year Hershey Medical students are members of the Gold Humanism Society. They will be mentoring DDB clients on interviewing, parenting, and other lifestyle skills. What a wonderful benefit for the DDB clients! We welcome this new group of students and appreciate their support.
DDB WISH LIST We are in short supply of socks, men’s underwear (sizes 30-42), and razors. Next time you are shopping, please consider purchasing some of these items. We can assure you that your donations will be put to good use. Of course financial contributions are always needed and appreciated.
One Step Away: A Community Forum On Homelessness WITF Special Program Elaine was an invited audience guest at the taping of this WITF special program (see From The Director). If you missed this episode, you can watch the program online at: http://video.witf.org/video/1825968491/
Thanks to ACS (Art Communication Systems), for assisting us with the printing of this newsletter. We are pleased to have a partnership with ACS! Harrisburg’s Premier Commercial Printing Service offers printing, graphic design, sales and marketing, and web development. Contact Park Cook, ACS, at 717-232-0144.
Log onto www.downtowndailybread.org often to discover the latest news and info at DDB. We want to keep you informed about how your support of DDB is making a difference and impacting our operations.
Feeding Harrisburg’s hungry since 1983!
A Sad Goodbye
Chris, DDB Client Caseworker, met Ms. Johnson last summer and had been working diligently to find her the proper care and assistance. Ms. Johnson faced a number of challenges as a result of her mental illness. Over time she began to build trust with Chris and revealed some personal details about her life including her mental decline after the loss of her husband followed by the loss of her job. Slowly, Chris felt she was making progress in helping Ms. Johnson and had been in contact with some of Ms. Johnson’s family members out-of-state. Chris made a personal commitment to help Ms. Johnson in her “golden years.” Ms. Johnson was in her late 60s. Chris began meeting with Ms. Johnson every few days and was amazed at how much Ms. Johnson began to open up and trust her. Unfortunately, before Chris’ efforts could materialize in the way she hoped, Ms. Johnson was hospitalized and diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away in early March. We hope that Ms. Johnson knew that she was valued by her DDB family. She will be missed!
Client Caseworker, Chris Patrick, recently got an update on a client she had assisted a couple of months ago. Chris helped the client get into a Drug & Alcohol Treatment program. The client contacted Chris to let her know he had been “clean” for 60 days. He also told her he was working and moving to Florida to be with his family. He is so thankful for the help he received at DDB. He attributes DDB with saving his life. The client told Chris, “he would never forget DDB” and that “DDB is like his family.” This is something we hear many times. What a compliment to the services DDB provides and to those who provide them.
Communication Link DDB connects clients to a variety of services available through our Lunch Plus Program. Sometimes DDB also connects clients to their own family members. We recently received an email message from an individual who heard that one of his family members had obtained services through DDB. The family was unaware of his whereabouts. They had been trying to locate him to assist him with medications and shelter. The family member provided phone numbers and asked that DDB pass along the message. The DDB counselor was able to do just that. Client Report DDB Caseworker Christine Patrick offers a recap on some DDB activities in March: • All 33 lockers are in use. Current wait list of 15 people. • Four men placed in Drug & Alcohol Treatment Centers. • Twenty client intakes were taken. • An average of 50 showers were provided per week. • Assisted a young client with an 18-month old baby. Client now has an apartment which she was unable to find until she came to DDB. • Two male clients found employment through DDB connections. • Working to find adequate care for two clients with mental health issues. Unfortunately there are limited services available. • Working with YWCA & Safe Harbor to obtain nightly shelter for clients so that clients are not exposed to the elements overnight. • Sadly, we have learned that one mentally ill client recently passed away when exposed to the elements during a random storm.
Life on the streets is not easy. United Way Designation Does your employer offer automatic payroll contributions to United Way? If so, you can specify DDB as your charity of choice. Check with your company’s Human Resources Department or with the United Way to make your selection to support DDB.
Lunch Plus Services The DDB Lunch Plus Program is a vital part of the services we offer our clients. Two new additions to those services include:
HAAC Nursing Students providing minor medical checks and wound care. • An attorney volunteering time to advise DDB clients on how to obtain Social Security Disability benefits. We appreciate all our volunteers and professionals who give of their time, talent, and expertise to assist DDB clients in all aspects of their lives. •
Capital Area Coalition On Homelessness reported 754 homeless people in January 2010 up approximately 23% from January 2009 figures. Of the 754 people, 229 were homeless children. These numbers do not include homeless individuals living with family and/or friends. Homelessness is an emergency...it is a growing problem in our community that needs your attention!
Did You Know? DDB has served 2,956 means in January and 2,322 meals in February 2011.
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