In This Issue • 5 Ways You Can Help Our Guests Beat the Summer Heat • Treasuring Our Volunteers • Mission Possible Celebration 2018
SPRING 2018 E n d i n g v e t e r a n a n d c h r o n i c h o m e l e s s n e s s i s o u r m i s s i o n . Yo u m a k e i t p o s s i b l e .
TONY’S JOURNEY TO HIS DREAM HOME At five years old, Tony Burns sat gazing out of his front window looking onto a parade taking place on 6th Street Northwest, his hometown block. “I just remember seeing two individuals in a car waving to everyone. I didn’t know who they were, just that their hair was shiny and their car was shiny.” It was Jacqueline Kennedy and Robert Kennedy riding in the parade to the dedication ceremony for Kennedy Park in Northwest Washington, DC in the early 60s. Tony Burns was born and raised in Northwest Washington, DC. “My father was the breadwinner. When he was off on Saturdays he would take me downtown so that we could spend father and son bonding time together.” Tony was the oldest of six and the only son. The fond memories of his father are all he has left. His father died when Tony was five. “The death of my father was traumatic to me. I didn’t understand the concept of death at five.“ His life would never be the same. Tony’s mother eventually moved on to another relationship, but that ended when Tony witnessed the new boyfriend try to kill his mother. Escaping danger, she fled with Tony’s siblings, and left Tony to live with neighbors. After some time, Tony’s mother found a permanent home in Southeast DC,
Lack of affordable and safe housing, lack of a safety net, and chronic debilitating illnesses contributed to Tony’s homelessness. Tony spent over 10 years without a safe and stable home, but Miriam’s Kitchen helped him find his dream home in Foggy Bottom. and he was able to be reunited with his mother and sisters. Tony dreamt of the day he could return to his childhood neighborhood where he could stay connected to the memories of his father and community. With that in mind, Tony worked hard assisting attorneys at the Department of Interior to support his mom and siblings financially while also pursuing a journalism and broadcasting degree at the University of the District of Columbia. In his early 20s, Tony came out to his family and friends as gay. His being gay was met with frustration
and rejection from many of those he loved, including his mother. So, he left home. Tony enjoyed his new freedom of only having to take care of himself. But on Friday, July 13, 1990, Tony tested positive for HIV. “I was 31 and the doctor said I wouldn’t live to see 60.” By 1996, his HIV became full blown AIDS. Medications made it hard for Tony to remain at his desk for long periods of time. By 2000, Tony could no longer work. Without steady income, he couldn’t afford to maintain his home, and he moved from one family member and friend to another. Story continued on page 3.
WAYS TO HELP OUR GUESTS
Beat the Heat
Hot temperatures, lack of access to public bathrooms, and dehydration can be an extremely dangerous combination for our guests who are living on the streets. Every moment becomes about survival through the unpredictable summer months. Here are five ways you can help the men and women experiencing homelessness this summer:
KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION Pale skin, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, abdominal cramps, dark colored urine, confusion, dizziness and fainting are all signs of heat exhaustion. Those who do not get help while experiencing heat exhaustion can experience a heat stroke. Keep a watchful eye on the men and women who are living on the street during the hot days we have this summer. We urge you to call 911 if you witness someone experiencing a medical emergency.
SAVE THE HYPERTHERMIA HOTLINE NUMBER IN YOUR PHONE: 202.399.7093 OR 311 If you ever come across someone that you think is experiencing a hyperthermia issue, please call the hyperthermia and shelter hotline immediately for assistance.
DONATE ITEMS FROM OUR AMAZON WISH LIST Sunblock, bug spray, deodorant, and small bottles of water are just a few of the items we have listed on our Amazon Wish List this summer. Log on to Amazon.com, go to “Find a List or Registry” and search for “Miriam’s Kitchen” to see all the items you can donate today.
MAKE A SUSTAINING GIFT You can make a huge difference in sustaining our front-line staff as they provide urgent services to our most vulnerable neighbors every day of the week. Make monthly giving a breeze—join our MK Club by visiting us online at www.miriamskitchen.org/ donate/#mkclub.
SAY HELLO AND HAND OUT WATER People experiencing homelessness are often ignored by passing neighbors on the street. Bring dignity to those experiencing homelessness by simply saying “hello.”
NORAH & BEN: Little Donors with Big Hearts Most of our supporters don’t get to have recess in the middle of the day, but Norah (8) and her brother Ben (5) are two exceptional, pint-sized donors with giant hearts. Last year, Norah and Ben donated their birthday and allowance money, covering the costs of 378 meals for our guests. Norah also collected materials to make “Blessing Bags” fully equipped with the winter essentials: hand and toe warmers, socks, underwear, and toiletries. For Norah, the reason to give back is simple. “I wouldn’t want people to be cold, and I wouldn’t want them to starve. And in the summer time, I often see a lot of people on the streets trying to find shade where they can stay cool, but a lot of them can’t find it because a lot of the trees are being cut down.” 2
Norah and Ben are enthusiastic about giving back! The grade school philanthropists look forward to keeping the momentum going. “I felt like we needed to do more, (but) it was a good head start.”
TONY’S JOURNEY TO HIS DREAM HOME (continued from cover)
There was a point when I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was also ashamed, but I learned over the years that everybody needs a little help. Sometimes your best help can come from people who got some experience.
TONY BURNS, Miriam’s Kitchen resident Finally, in 2010, Tony was able to move into his own home with the help of Whitman Walker Clinic and Catholic Charities. His new home brought much needed stability until mold was found in Tony’s apartment in 2014. The following year, doctors found spots on his lungs, and Tony was diagnosed with cancer. Tony’s case was transferred to Miriam’s Kitchen where he could obtain the intensive case management and support he needed—including help finding a new home where it was safe to breathe.
the complex was near his former workplace at the Department of Interior. “I stood under the awning in the front of the building as it began to rain. People were saying hello to me as if I lived there—and I actually began to daydream about how it would feel to live up here.” In February, your support helped make Tony’s dream of living closer to his childhood home a reality.
During the winter of 2017, Tony met with his case manager, Isabelle Ruiz de Luzuriaga, at an apartment complex near Miriam’s Kitchen.
Today, Tony is cancer free! And he has been giving back to the community—serving as a mentor for Whitman Walker’s +1 Peer Mentor Program, which he was a founding member. He also sits on George Washington University’s Cancer Community Advisory Board as a patient advisor for cancer projects and initiatives.
As Tony waited for Isabelle to arrive, he admired the beautiful high-rise building and recognized
“It’s so nice to see Tony around Miriam’s Kitchen knowing he is our neighbor. Like Tony,
many of our guests living with compromised health conditions are able to regain stability once they’re housed. Our work always focuses on helping people return to community, whatever that might mean to them. Seeing Tony live and volunteer in the community he loves helps solidify that sense of community,” said Kierstin Quinsland, Director of Permanent Supportive Housing.
Your support has helped 50 other guests like Tony find a safe and stable home since January 2018!
Legacy Giving Become one of our cherished heroes with kindness that will last a lifetime. By giving through your estate plan you can lead a legacy of compassion through a bequest or trust gift to Miriam’s Kitchen. If you have already arranged for a bequest or other planned gift, we would like to honor your support. If you are considering such a gift, contact Mei Powers at email@example.com or 202-452-8926 ext. 228 for further information. 3
py p a H er e t n on Volu reciati App onth! M
to the 1,500 individuals (including 37 partner groups) who have donated 14,000 hours in our kitchen, dining room, and beyond!
We are extremely grateful for you! SOUS CHEFS AND KITCHEN VOLUNTEERS: From meal preparation to providing front line hospitality to our guests in the serving line, the sous chefs and kitchen volunteers are the heart of our meals program. • Monday-Friday, 6:00am - 8:30am (breakfast shift) or 4:00pm - 6:30pm (dinner shift) • Tuesday or Thursday, 12:00pm - 2:00pm (prep shift) GUEST SERVICES VOLUNTEERS: If you love helping people, we could use your outgoing spirit in our guest services area to engage with our guests, distribute essential toiletry items, and fulfill clothing orders. • Monday-Friday, 6:30am - 8:30am or 4:00pm - 6:00pm
WAYS TO LEND A HAND AT MIRIAM’S KITCHEN We work with approximately 150 volunteers every week; so there are plenty of opportunities for you to lend a helping hand. All volunteers must first attend attend an orientation which is held on the second Friday of every month, 4:30-5:30 pm. To RSVP for the next orientation and learn more about our volunteer program, visit us online at www.miriamskitchen.org/ volunteer. Please note, we’re looking for people who can commit to volunteering at least once a month.
ART HELPERS: Join our art therapy team to assist our guests in crafting unique pieces that represent who they are and empower their lives. • Monday-Friday, 8:15am - 9:45am or 2:30pm - 4:30pm WRITING GROUP LEADER: Work along with our art therapy team to engage guests in creative writing exercises including group discussion and written responses. • Monday-Friday, 8:15am - 9:30am or 2:30pm - 4:15pm VOLUNTEER BARBERS: If you have experience with cutting hair and can provide your own tools then we’d love to have your help . • Monday-Friday, 8:15am - 9:45am or 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Volunteer Spotlight: ADAM WEERS DOWN FOR THE COUNT
Equipped with a clipboard of surveys and flashlights, two volunteer groups led by Miriam’s Kitchen walked street by street checking alley ways, under bridges, and other discreet places to look for people experiencing homelessness as part of DC’s Point-In- Time Count. By the end of the night (at 2am) with temperatures hovering above freezing, volunteers surveyed 82 individuals experiencing homelessness in Foggy Bottom and the National Mall.
Every year DC conducts a Point-In- Time (PIT) count when hundreds of volunteers hit the streets to count people sleeping outside and conduct a brief survey about their experiences and service needs. Miriam’s Kitchen Board Member, Sous Chef and boxing enthusiast, Adam Weers (Principal, Trammell Crow Company), shared a few reflections after participating in the PIT count for the third time this past January:
Second, how urgent it is for Miriam’s Kitchen to stay focused on our mission of ending chronic homelessness. Sleeping on the street is terrible. It’s cold, and it’s dangerous. It is a miracle that folks are able to make it through each night okay. Anything and everything we can do to help people get off the streets and into housing is worth our focus.
Every time I have had the chance to volunteer with the PIT count, I am reminded of a few things:
Third, how amazing the people who have dedicated their lives to working at Miriam’s Kitchen truly are. I was reminded during the PIT count of how hard they work, how talented and dedicated they are, and that Miriam’s Kitchen is able to have the impact it makes because the organization is filled with incredible people.
First, how blessed I am to be able to participate as a counter instead of being counted. Life can get crazy sometimes and, but for the grace of God, it could totally be me on those streets struggling to stay warm.
I hope that one day we can get to a point where no one ever gets counted in the PIT two years in a row because everybody who takes the survey can get housed before the next survey happens.
YOUR SUPPORT IS HELPING TO END VETERAN AND CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS IN DC Over 50 communities across America have ended homelessness among veterans. Your support is helping to add DC on that list. According to DC’s annual point in time count, Veteran homelessness has declined by 43% and chronic homelessness has declined 17%. This means more than 2,600 formerly homeless Veterans and 1,250 chronically homeless individuals now have safe place to call home.
Persons experiencing homelessness Chronic
2018 MISSION POSSIBLE Guest Honoree
YOUR CHARITABLE GIFTS AFTER THE TAX REFORM Gifts from IRAs and Appreciated Property Remain the Same! When Congress enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, tax rates were lowered and many widely used deductions were curtailed or eliminated. Fortunately, the charitable deduction was retained and enhanced for many taxpayers who still benefit from itemizing their gifts and other deductions for tax purposes. This booklet will help you make effective charitable gifts in light of the new tax law. Whether you plan to support the programs of Miriam’s Kitchen or even another favorite charity, you can request a FREE copy of “Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform” without obligation by checking the box provided on the enclosed Reply Envelope and returning it to us, or email Brenda Segal at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy. 6
JOIN US FOR AN EXPERIENCE where youâ€™ll connect with our guests and other community leaders on a new level.
Ending veteran and chronic homelessness in DC is our MISSION. You make it POSSIBLE.
HONOREES: Senator Chris Van Hollen | Sam Ross, MK Speakers Bureau INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: $450 per person BENEFACTOR TICKETS: $750 per person (sponsors an MK guest or staff member to also attend)
Purchase your ticket at miriamskitchen.org/missionpossible18. For general questions contact Mary Godier at email@example.com. For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jackie Horstmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-615-7667 7
2401 Virginia Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20037
Thank you for helping Tony move into his dream home! www.miriamskitchen.org â€˘ CFC #27085 /MiriamsKitchen