NATIONALHOMELESS.ORG
Twitter Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

Posts Tagged ‘giving’

Season’s Greetings

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy

Season’s Greetings from all of us at the National Coalition for the Homeless to you, our members, friends and colleagues. I hope that this holiday season is filled with wonderful surprises, chance meetings, and all the joys of the holiday season. As friends stop by our office to wish us well, I’m reminded how fortunate we all are to have such a wonderful community who are dedicated to the important work we do and proud to define us as a premier national advocacy organization.

With the 2011 calendar drawing to a close and our 2012 strategic plan at its midway point, I’m pleased to say that we’re on a direct and correct course for advancing NCH’s mission: “To prevent and end homelessness, while ensuring that the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and that their civil rights are protected.” We have accomplished a great deal in partnership with homeless Americans by protecting advancements in public policy, restoring and defending civil rights, holding accountable banks and housing officials for their role in the foreclosure crisis, and setting community standards for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing.

While we recognize the progress we’ve made thus far, we must also identify those things which have prevented us from functioning expeditiously and accomplishing the interim steps that appeared so do-able at first blush. As we look towards next year, the three most severe and direct challenges for those we serve and for our organization specifically will be the difficult national economy, the resulting reductions in revenue from grants and contributions, and the mounting fatigue towards persistent poverty and homelessness.

The tradition of the holiday “wish list” seems an appropriate metaphor for the closing of this year’s holiday message…

In difficult times, when it seems that providing resources and direct service are the only activities that deserve your attention – Understand the important role that NCH’s advocacy plays in protecting & preserving those resources & services…

When donors are faced with their own financial challenges – Consider that NCH depends on your continued support and that your responsibility to those most in need grows more important in difficult times and is appreciated all the more…

AND, as homeless hate crimes grow, criminalizing homelessness becomes common, affordable housing disappears and low income workers fail to earn a livable wage – Remember the homeless and those who proudly and honorably serve every day.

Remember the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Feeding vs. Foodsharing

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Food Insecurity, Poverty

The National Coalition for the Homeless differentiates between feeding the homeless – objectifying the hungry as simply needing to be fed – and food sharing. The sharing of one’s meal with another is to participate in the mutual fulfillment of the human need to feed both in body and soul. It is the difference between blindly providing resources and services to someone and breaking bread with them.

The religious connotations of breaking bread are profound: Moses told the Israelites to break unleavened bread with each other during the Passover, Jesus broke bread with his disciples both at the Last Supper and again following his death as their risen Lord. The ancient Greeks would invite random travelers homes for a meal, fearing offending them in case they were gods. Zen Buddhists practice a tea ceremony with guests as a way to achieve enlightenment together. Each of these examples provide cultural or religious guidance for going out of one’s way to satisfy the needs of another person, often at the lower end of a power dynamic. In the relationship between host and guest, breaking bread as a way of sharing an experience with someone is to achieving spiritual fulfillment or accompaniment, as expressed in Liberation Theology.

Liberation Theology developed as a Christian movement in Latin America against traditional forms of foreign aid and charity. Its central thesis was to return to the roots of what Jesus taught about the preferential option for the poor, believing that the poor must be the focus in every Christian endeavor. This focus is enacted through the concept of accompaniment, which argues that charity must be a shared experience. The giver must give in solidarity with the recipient, and the recipient must take an active role in their liberation from poverty. In a recent article in the journal Foreign Affairs, Prof. Paul Farmer, a noted Harvard University anthropologist and physician explains that accompaniment derives from the breaking of bread together or ad cum panis.  

We are reminded further of the practice and concept of accompaniment through the life of Saint Francis. During the event of his religious conversion, St. Francis de-clothed in the public square, denounced his father’s fortune and adopted a life of poverty. Later in life, after being relieved of his possessions during a roadside robbery, he responded by stripping off his shoes and cloak and offering the robber his last possessions. St. Francis’ life was a true example of sharing one’s possessions most fully, the epitome of accompaniment or breaking bread with the poor.

In recent years, the concept of charity and service has lost much of its focus on the individual being served and unfortunately has shifted its focus to giving credit to the provider. Food sharing allows us to rebalance our relationship with charity and accompaniment, allowing us to once again see those who receive our offerings as blessed and occupying a role that enables the giver to better themselves spiritually.

Realigning oneself with charity and services provides the giver a greater appreciation for themselves and those they serve. At the same time, it allows the receiver to be an active participant in their own liberation. This relationship between the server and served is described beautifully in the Jewish Tzedakah. The philosophy describes charity as a partnership between those who possess and whose in need – the relationship of host and guest, as two who break bread together.

As a homeless advocate, the relationship to services and charity – the ability to break bread as equals -has profound consequences to the way in which we do our work. Within the framework of accompaniment, homeless services must become about quality, love, and sacrifice, rather than quantity, efficiency, and image. We must unlearn the concept of “feeding the homeless,” and take on the mindset of sharing our food with those experiencing homelessness.

By Hunter Scott, Fall 2011 Intern

Philanthropic Gap Filled by Corporate Donors

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Awareness

In this difficult economic climate, homeless people and providers are less likely to get financial support from traditional philanthropic partners and more likely to find reliable support from   individual donors and finding unexpected partnerships with corporate donors.

This month, National Coalition for the Homeless is joining worker’s rights groups around the world shining a spotlight on unscrupulous employers, responsible for wage theft and poor working conditions. At the same time NCH would like to hold an equally bright light on corporations that are creating solutions to homelessness.

Recently, Morrison’s Supermarket chain made a commitment to hire one-thousand homeless job-seekers. This is a remarkable commitment that will truly make a measurable difference in the individual lives of so many new workers and their families. It will also make a truly positive impact on so many communities.

NCH believes that jobs that pay a living wage are an important, lasting and cost effective solution to homelessness, for millions of un-housed or at-risk workers and job seekers. NCH also supports the notion that scrupulous employers are often the most effective deterrent against unscrupulous practices.

NATIONALHOMELESS.ORG

National Coalition for the Homeless | 2201 P St NW, Washington, DC 20037 | (202) 462-4822 | info [at] nationalhomeless [dot] org
© 2014 National Coalition for the Homeless | Private Policy
Powered by Warp Theme Framework