Thursday, August 14, 2014

Broad Street Ministries of Philadelphia

 From time to time I come across nonprofit organizations doing tremendous work in their communities. I recently found out about Broad Street Ministries in Philadelphia and wanted to mention the amazing work they are doing there to feed the homeless.

Broad Street Ministries is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing 'radical hospitality to all'. This broad mission statement works toward a society in which each individual is a valued member of an interconnected society. To this end, the Broad Street Ministry works with the homeless, providing food, care items and much more. Click here for their vision.

A Problem Too Big For One
Philadelphia is home to roughly 4,000 people who live without a settled abode. Some ten percent of those people are forced to live rough, on the street. This is the poorest large city in the United States, with at least 28.4% of its residents surviving on less then 23,550 dollars a year.
Many of the homeless are Veterans. Others suffer from chronic illnesses, mental or physical disabilities and addiction. Women on the streets have often faced severe physical or sexual abuse. These are people who live at the fringes with no support systems to speak of. Read here for a full scope on homelessness.

Working to Ease Suffering
Breaking Bread, offered four or five times a week, gives more than just a hot and nutritious meal. During these events Broad Street Ministry offers a full range of serviced aiming to help the under-served populace. People are able to access Veterans resources, a secure mail service, clean warm clothing and personal care needs. People are able repair there existing clothing or take part in a therapeutic art session.

The food is worth mentioning. It is prepared by a professional chef for nutrition and taste. It is then served restaurant style instead of in lines. Participants report that just this little detail helps to normalize, in some same way, their daily existence.

Working with Partners
Poverty is a work that cannot be approached alone. Broad Street Ministry works with many other groups to provide other services to the needy. There is housing counseling through the Bethesda Project, medical services which include general health care as well as more specialized services with the help of PHMC, Bebashi and Council for Relationships. This work is succeeding. In 2013 alone some 23,600 meals were served, 360 Veterans found assistance, over eight thousand garments were handed out or repaired and nearly 400 people received medical care. Here is the full report on their impact:

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