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Respecting the Dignity of Others with Georgetown Ministry Center

By Gunther Stern, Executive Director Georgetown Ministry CenterDSC_9082

After 30 years, I will be passing the reins early next year to someone with new ideas and energy, but with a commitment to our current mission and goals.

Georgetown Ministry Center started in 1987 with just one social worker, and a mandate to provide service and shelter.

I was working in a soup kitchen in Silver Spring when I saw the position originally announced. In a previous life I had spent time with homeless people in Georgetown. I became fascinated by the mental illnesses and the lifestyle. I couldn’t resist applying. As it turned out, I ended up helping some of the people I had gotten to know years before in Georgetown.

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I have become acutely aware that while housing is important to the solution of homelessness, we need to fix our broken mental health system, too. This nation’s commitment to people with mental illness is absent, both because of misunderstanding the problem and a lack of will. We are allowing people with no insight, who are completely incapacitated by mental illness, to choose to live on the street. We need to change that and we are expanding our advocacy in this vein.

Currently, we are working with local leaders to create a dialogue about the need for more aggressive interventions for people who are homeless because of severe mental illness. There needs to be a better policy than allowing people with little or no insight and judgement to choose to live on the street in squalor.

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We have grown over the years into a year-round drop-in center, providing psychiatric and medical outreach, social and mental health services, case management, shelter and housing support, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and laundry facilities. We have been working on plan with a foundation to use our space more effectively. We now have plans which will add some space but also better utilize the space we have. We are hoping to begin a capital campaign soon.

As the only homeless service provider in the immediate neighborhood, we serves one of the very neediest populations. Many are resistant to services and treatment, so we create a welcoming environment that fosters friendly relationships and, ultimately, trust.

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I am inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates. After building a fortune at a very young age, they turned their lives and genius to helping others, full-time. That inspires me to constantly review our mission. I am always assessing our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). I think about the risks of any action, plan, or for that matter, inaction and lack of plan.

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Last year, we reached 1,000 homeless individuals, including 60-70 “regulars,” providing 5,391 showers and 9,879 sandwiches. An on-staff psychiatrist served 100, while a general practitioner provided care to 350. Moving from the streets to housing is profoundly challenging for this population, but a few achieve it each year and we support them at every step.

I consider Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for her outspoken advocacy for education for girls, a personal hero. Even after the devastating injury, she returned to speaking out. She would not be silenced. It reminds me to respect the dignity of our constituents, and never talk down to them.

We seek lasting solutions for homelessness, one person at a time. For more information about us, or to volunteer, email us at info@gmcgt.org or call us 202-388-8301.

DC SCORES is Team!

Spring, it seems, is here to stay in Washington, DC, and for one nonprofit after-school program, that means service.

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At DC SCORES, elementary and middle school students across the District — 2,200 of them — create change in their communities during the 12-week season through service-learning projects.

Writing coaches hired by DC SCORES80% of whom work at the schools — lead students through the program’s thick service-learning curriculum, taking them on a journey that goes like this:

Stage 1: Examine your community. Kids walk around their school building and into the surrounding neighborhood, equipped with clipboards and a pencil. They jot down what rubs them the wrong way. Is there a lot of trash? Homeless people suffering? A lack of gardens? Stray animals?

Stage 2: Research. After a collaborative decision on which issue to focus on, the kids educate themselves. They look up statistics online. They talk to people who are relevant to the issue locally. They become informed.

Stage 3: Implementation. It’s time to go to work! During the two service-learning sessions after school each week, the kids — feeling empowered like never before — take the steps as a team to create change. Some projects culminate in a big day (examples: a car wash to raise money to feed the homeless; a fun race to fundraise for the local animal shelter; a fitness festival to bring awareness about healthy living to their school community) while others are multi-week processes such as the creation of a school garden.

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Stage 4: Reflection. The last week of the spring DC SCORES service-learning season is spent reflecting on the project. What were the biggest challenges? What felt most rewarding? How did the kids feel when it we completed? Many lessons come out of these projects, and the elementary and middle school poet-athletes in DC SCORES learn just how powerful they are to make a difference in their communities, especially when working together.

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DC SCORES was born in 1994 by a Teach for America teacher, Julie Kennedy, who noticed that girls she taught at Marie Reed Learning Center (now Marie Reed Elementary School) had nothing to do after school. Julie rolled out a soccer ball one day, and the girls embraced the game. On a rainy afternoon, with everyone stuck inside, Julie placed a notebook in front of each girl and and encouraged them to freely write down their thoughts about anything. The poetry aspect, which takes place during the fall season and culminates in the annual Poetry Slam!, came about. Service-learning was added as the third prong of the innovate model shortly thereafter.

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DC SCORES goes where kids in need are — they operate in all eight wards, with 55 sites at DC public and public charter schools and rec centers; the program’s waiting list is 20 schools deep — and gives them the skills and confidence to be successful on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life.

Every aspect of DC SCORES, from the weekly game days to the Slam! to service-learning, is based around team and led by supported, trusted coaches who are considered leaders in their school communities. If you are in Columbia Heights or Deanwood or many other DC neighborhoods, you will see kids and adults walking around in DC SCORES school-customized T-shirts. They wear them proudly.

DC SCORES is team. And the bonds created within DC SCORES lead to stronger, healthier, happier communities throughout the District regardless of resources available. Just consider Imagine Hope Community Charter School – Tolson Campus, which last year created a school garden on its blacktop out of recycled soda bottles.

Give kids an outlet, the confidence, and the tools to make their world a better place, and the result will be beautiful.

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GET INVOLVED
So how can you get involved with DC SCORES this spring?

Volunteer: DC SCORES especially needs volunteers for its season-culminating Jamboree! on Saturday, June 3 for all 2,200 kids and their families. Many roles are available. Additionally, referees are needed for Thursday game days (no experience necessary). Check out all volunteer opportunities HERE.

Website: Learn more about DC SCORES at www.DCSCORES.org or by connecting with the program on any social media platform (just search DC SCORES).

Celebrate Black History Month with CASA Prince George’s County

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“Make Justice a Reality for all Children,”… Including Foster Children

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said at his “March on Washington” on Aug. 28, 1963, “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” If he were alive today, he may have even rallied support for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA’s) who stand up for boys and girls. CASA’s are volunteers sworn-in by a judge to investigate a foster child’s needs and challenges – from academics to emotional well-being – and then report back their findings and recommendations.

At CASA/Prince George’s County, we celebrate Black History Month and thank Dr. King, and other veterans of the civil rights movement, for marching our nation forward towards a more just reality. In their spirit, we recruit, train and supervise CASA’s in Prince George’s County.

PG County is the wealthiest, predominately African-American county, in the nation. Unfortunately, many parts of the county and its residents suffer from high crime, high poverty rates, and a troubled school system.

Consider this: More than half of foster children nationwide drop out of high school, increasing the chances that they will slip into poverty, homelessness and possibly even jail. Today, foster children often begin their lives impoverished, are abused and neglected, abandoned and even traumatized. None of this is the fault of the children, they were simply born to parents unable to care for them.

Upwards of 70 percent of foster children who have been assigned to one of our CASA’s graduate, increasing the chances that they will enjoy a full and productive life.

We opened our doors in 2001 and, like other CASA’s nationwide, have made a real difference in the community we serve. We now have about 150 CASA’s in a county with more than 400 foster children. Our goal is to have one CASA for each child in foster care.

Studies show that foster children with CASA’s are more likely to thrive. With the help of a CASA, a foster child is more apt to graduate from high school, escape poverty and live a longer life.

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Celebrate Black History Month by?becoming a CASA, or learning more about CASA’s, please call: (301) 209-0491 or email volunteer@pgcasa.org.

Also, see: www.pgcasa.org

Hunger Knows No Season: What will you do today?

According to a recent article by Tana Ganeva in AlterNet (“5 Worst States to be a Poor Kid”), “Last year, America placed next to last in a ranking of child well-being in 35 developed countries, barely beating out Romania.” This is a shocking statement — or perhaps not. It’s no secret that one in five American children lives in “relative” poverty, but what is striking is that “close to half of poverty-stricken kids live in extreme poverty, which means their families earn less than half the poverty level of $11,746 per year for a family of four.”

Despite the efforts of many terrific organizations hell bent on pulling people out of poverty — like DC-based Share Our Strength whose mission is to end childhood hunger, and the many charities in the Catalogue for Philanthropy — there has been, according to Ganeva, a 23 percent rise in child hunger. In some parts of the country, 1 child out 4 is poor. There is nothing acceptable about a 25 percent poverty rate for children. While children in poverty do benefit from safety net programs, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP/food stamps, as it is commonly known), and advocates such as D.C. Hunger Solutions (which works closely with the city government to make sure food policies are effective and ensures that those who serve needy families can connect with existing nutrition programs), there is no question that as individuals we must do more to aid our neighbors in need.

Nearly two hundred Catalogue charities are dedicated to supporting Human Services. Catalogue charities such as D.C. Hunger Solutions, Arlington Food Assistance Center, Food for Others, Manna Food Center and Our Daily Bread all have programs designed to help families in poverty, and each has very tangible ways for the community to help: at Arlington Food Assistance Center, $100 will supply 1 week’s food for 10 families, and at Manna Food Center, the same amount supplies Smart Sacks (backpacks full of kid-friendly food) for 25 school kids. Volunteers for Our Daily Bread can organize a drive to collect grocery cards, while at Food for Others, they can help the warehouse staff record incoming and outgoing food, pack emergency food and USDA boxes and sort and shelve products.

While it isn’t December, and the “giving season” is months away, the truth is that hunger knows no season. Yes, the number of children in poverty is staggering, and on some levels, even intimidating, but by taking simple steps and helping our neighbors in need throughout the year, we can make a real difference in ending child hunger in Greater Washington. What will you do today?

In the News…

Home Care Workers Get Minimum Wage: As Active Aging Week begins, the Department of Labor announced that the over 2 million home care workers in the US will earn minimum wage and overtime benefits starting January 1st, 2015. Home health aides — 90 percent of whom are women and 42 percent of whom are black or Latino –currently earn an average of $9.70 per hour. A Huffington Post article notes that the home health sector is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country, predicted to grow 70 percent from 2010-2020 as Baby Boomers age.

Kids Give! A report by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the United Nations Foundation found that 90 percent of kids give to charity, sparking a discussion on how to get youth involved in giving . One of the report’s authors noted that “children whose parents talk to them about giving are 20 percent more likely to give than those whose parents don’t” and encouraged families and charities to find ways to engage kids in the giving and volunteering process. Read the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s article here or check out the study here.

Census Bureau Annual Report Released: The yearly report on poverty and income found that 21.8 percent of American children under the age of 18 lived in poverty in 2012 — and a Washington Post article notes that “the younger they are, the worse off they are.The percentage of children under the age of 5 living in poverty is 25.1 — and almost 1 in 10 live in extreme poverty.” Children of color are affected most with 37.9 percent of black children and 33.8 percent of Hispanic children living in poverty. Additionally, the statistics shows that 9.1 percent of Americans living in poverty are 65+.

The report also found that in today’s dollars, the median American household in 2012 makes less than in 1989. This is in stark contrast to the Forbes Top 400 list of the richest Americans, whose wealth has grown 15 percent since 2012 to a combined total of $2 trillion. Census data shows that households making over $191,000 are earning nearly what they had before the recession, yet the lower 80 percent are, on average, making significantly less than before the downturn, as noted in a NPQ article.

Equalizing Education

Last week, I came across an interesting article in Greater Greater Education, which considered the unintentional effects of emphasizing equality (and not necessarily equity) in education. Setting aside the conversation about whether our country’s attempts at providing an “equal education” are, in fact, equal, the author offers thought-provoking commentary on the philosophical and pragmatic tensions of a education focused on college preparation versus a more practical post-graduate path (equality vs adequacy).

While not offering a solution to this inherent conflict, the piece considers why equality in education is failing many of our public school students and not preparing them for the realities of working life:

…Only 32% of young adults complete an undergraduate degree by 29, meaning the vast majority of high school students need preparation for a decade or more of life without any further education. These students…need classes that prepare them to navigate government programs, secure employment, understand the contracts they sign, nurture relationships and build a family. They need to be taught about the structure of the US workforce, and what the requirements are on paper and in practice to advance in different industries. They need to be taught consumer financial skills.

On the other hand, free education is seen as the “great equalizer” in American society – the only opportunity equally afforded to all children regardless of race, class, gender, ancestry, disability, or any other status. Many first-generation college-bound students only learn about opportunities to climb the ladder from that one dedicated teacher or guidance counselor at school. Ideally, any student who is presented with these opportunities and encouraged enough would pursue the college dream, succeed, graduate, and provide a strong and supportive environment for her children to do the same. At least in theory, this is how marginalized and disadvantaged groups gain a greater level of wealth, power, and status within society.

In practice, many of us know this isn’t true. Public education has existed in this country for over 150 years, and yet the system has promoted institutionalized biases for much of that time – against women, minorities, and immigrants, among other groups. How do we recognize the failings in our current system of public education, while preserving its idealistic integrity, and equitably meet the needs of all students?

The nonprofit community has stepped up to tackle this challenge, providing educational enrichment programs that try to cover the spectrum of students’ needs. College prep nonprofits, like Collegiate Directions Inc, identify students who have high potential for success in college and offer them intensive support, beyond what public school can provide. The results are impressive, according to a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post:

Since we began in 2005, 98 percent of our scholars have graduated from four-year colleges within six years, compared with only 11 percent of low-income, first-generation students nationally, according to a 2008 Pell study. Our scholars exemplify how earlier intervention, personal advising and academic support are essential to finding, gaining admittance to and succeeding in a best-fit college.

Other nonprofits offer nontraditional high school programs that address head-on the reality that many students will face after graduation. For example, Youth Build Public Charter School prepares students for post-secondary education and the workplace by offering, in English and Spanish, academic, vocational and workforce development programs. The D.C. Students Construction Trades Foundation offers students the opportunity to explore a broad range of careers in the building industry and gain experience in those fields through a hybrid high school program.

As important as it is to strive towards the lofty goals of our public education system, it’s more of an injustice to our diverse student population today to ignore their realities. That doesn’t make the dilemma any less uncomfortable to face. We’re faced with providing a band-aid solution to overall economic inequality while our society figures out how to heal the deeper wounds. Ultimately, the patient can’t survive without either the band-aid or the surgery – something we shouldn’t forget when providing immediate solutions to education inequality in the United States.

Around Town: May 18-19

If you are looking for a fun way to learn, make a difference, and get out of the house this weekend, these Catalogue nonprofits are waiting for you! See what is in store for the DC Metro area this weekend on Around Town. Heading to one of these events? Let us know–we would love to hear about it:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in North Capitol/Shaw

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering groceries to over 250 low-income seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge St. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags to low-income seniors. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698
For more information: click here

LAMB 10th Anniversary Fiesta & Auction

Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School
Join us in celebrating LAMB’s 10th anniversary at the Fiesta & Auction! Food, music, silent auction & live auction, including items for many fabulous restaurants, hotels, and local businesses. Venga a disfrutar!
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (6:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Where: Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School, 1375 Missouri Ave. NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20011
Fee? yes $35 in advance; $45 at the door
Contact: Colleen Renk or Iyon Rosario, (202) 726-6200
For more information: click here

The Big 33: The World’s Most Important Dinner Party

A Wider Circle
Come see why Zagat calls 9159 Brookville Road one of the finest dining establishments in town. Okay, not really, but come see – and share – what A Wider Circle is all about! It only costs A Wider Circle $33 to provide a child or adult with all of his or her basic need items – from beds and dressers to sheets, towels, dishes, pots, pans, and much, much more! $33 is only a suggested donation. We invite you to come on out, share in some great food, hear about the work, and enjoy a wonderful dinner party. Have questions or want to RSVP? Call 301-608-3504 or email Dinner@awidercircle.org All are welcome, so please feel free to share this invitation with friends, family members, neighborhood listservs, or anyone who may be interested.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: A Wider Circle’s Center for Community Service, 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fee? no
Contact: Erin Fiaschetti, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dance Place
DC based Christopher K. Morgan & Artists joins forces with NY based skybetter and associates for an evening of contemporary dance employing sinuous and abstract movement combined with detailed musicality. Performance includes Inclement Weather, choreographed by Sydney Skybetter, centering on the hallucinogenic memory of a beloved, lost grandmother. Co-presented by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
When: Sunday, May 19, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

 

Investing in Ending Homelessness

It’s budget season in DC, and the nonprofit/social sector community has been rallying lately around several different budget priorities for FY2014. We’ve written before about the One City Fund and the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region circulated a petition to fully fund adult literacy programs. Today, another issue caught our eye on the DC Fair Budget Coalition’s blog about tackling homelessness in the District. Many Catalogue nonprofits currently work with individuals and families experiencing homelessness in DC (as well as Maryland and Virginia), and we’ve shared posts before from organizations like Washington Legal Counsel for the Homeless and FACETS. In this article, Danielle Rothman from the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project shares her experience working at DC General and urges the DC City Council to fully fund the Housing First and Local Rent Supplement Programs tenant-based voucher programs in 2014.

A key theme in this piece is the fact that falling on hard times and into homelessness can happen to anyone. The profile of a struggling single mother who kept fighting for herself and her daughter, only to face an onslaught of new challenges, inspires compassion even for those most removed from poverty in the Greater Washington area:

Nicole is a 30-year-old woman with a knock-out smile. She exudes warmth and joy, and when she greets you with one of her signature hugs, you can’t help but feel a little happier. Nicole’s 7-year-old daughter, Taylor, is a bubbly little girl, with a flair for drama and a mischievous sparkle in her eye. If you saw Nicole and Taylor walking down the street, you might notice their close relationship, or maybe the energy they radiate. Perhaps you wouldn’t notice them at all, because they seem so much like any other mother-daughter pair. You would probably never guess that Nicole and Taylor are residents of the DC General Emergency Family Shelter, DC’s largest shelter for homeless families. You would certainly not be able to imagine the countless ordeals that they have been through…

Nicole’s ordeals included drug-addicted and absent parents, sexual assault, raising a daughter alone, and the financial pressures of students loans and family illness, and then her daughter’s own experience with sexual abuse. Each one of those challenges is more than most of us probably experience in a decade. And, Rothman notes, Nicole is not alone:

In my two years of working at DC General with the Playtime project, I have met a college educated mother of two who lost everything when she escaped domestic violence, a family where both parents lost jobs they’d had for years, a father who had to leave his job after his wife left because he could not find evening day care for his two little girls, and even a mother who used to volunteer at a homeless shelter. Much like Nicole, she never thought she would end up living in a shelter herself. These stories are common, and they are powerful reminders that homelessness can happen to anyone. We as a community must pull together to support these families and help them find solid ground again.

The DC City Council has the opportunity to help address the challenges faced by Nicole, and others staying at DC General and homeless shelters around town, by funding the programs mentioned above. However, the responsibility to help and make a difference goes beyond our local government, and lies with each member of the Greater Washington community. Consider getting involved with a Catalogue nonprofit that works with those experiencing hunger or homeless as a donor, volunteer, or advocate – more information online here.

The “Exposure” Problem

In a recent article in the Atlantic (“Why the Rich Don’t Give to Charity“), Ken Stern cites studies showing that – from a percentage perspective – the wealthiest Americans give less than their poorer brethren: 1.3 percent of income versus 3.2 percent. Some theories suggest that, according to UC Berkeley psychologist Paul Piff, the rich are more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above those of other people.

But perhaps the most intriguing finding is the discovery that, among lower-income people, it is the daily exposure to the challenges people face in meeting their most basic needs that “may create ‘higher empathy’” and that this empathy is what generates – well – generosity. Seeing others in need, and experiencing need themselves, makes those who are less able to give more likely to give.

Conversely, “insulation from people in need may dampen the charitable impulse” – so that people who live in homogeneous neighborhoods (the author interestingly cites Bethesda, MD and McLean, VA) are less likely to give to the degree they might because they don’t regularly see and experience need. Instead – at least in the largest numbers – they are inclined to give to alma mater and to large and prestigious arts institutions.

What strikes me is that there are many ways to address “the exposure” problem and that the Catalogue is one of them. Reading stories about people in need is a doorway into the lives of others, an opening created by narratives and images that tell real and compelling stories – whether they are stories of homeless teens who find shelter and support at Alternative House, or LGBT youth who are at greater risk of abuse than their heterosexual peers and who find services and a safe haven at SMYAL, or they are men and women in low-wage jobs who lack health care and find treatment at the Arlington Free Clinic.

Reading about one’s neighbors in need is not, of course, the same thing as living next door to them day in and day out. But compassion emerges in many different ways, and reading has always been, and I think continues to be, a powerful way of knowing. Here at the Catalogue we hope our readers are coming to know their neighbors in our print Catalogue, online, at our events, at the events we post daily on their behalf, through videos available at each charity’s page, and, perhaps, in the visits that donors make to the charities that move them.

“Give where you live” is a powerful rallying cry: it presumes that we are all neighbors even when we don’t live shoulder to shoulder. Here at the Catalogue we work every day to make that presumption a reality.

The Two Sides of Hunger

Hunger and obesity may seem like far ends on the spectrum of food and nutrition, but both are symptoms of a near-epidemic problem in the US: food insecurity and malnutrition. Hunger’s victims suffer from the inability to provide sufficient food for themselves or their family; and a substantial group of the Americans now considered obese are either children, come from low-income families, or both. This week, at a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress, representatives from the private sector, public sector, and nonprofit sector shared thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of hunger in the US.

The statistics are staggering. After the “great recession” of 2008, the number of Americans living in food insecure households jumped to nearly 50 million, and over 16 million of those are children under age 18. In addition, one in three children is considered obese today, and that number increases to nearly half of all children living in poverty. On the other hand, programs that have proven to be effective on the front lines of ensuring food security for Americans falling into poverty (including school lunch programs, SNAP, and WIC) are facing intense scrutiny and potential cuts in upcoming budget discussions.

Fortunately, there are also some great examples of best practices and cross-sector collaborations making headway on not only alleviating hunger today, but attacking its root cause (poverty), of which malnutrition is only a symptom. Organizations like Share Our Strength are disproving the myth that healthy food is too expensive for lower-income families. This perception, and the all-too-real occurrence of food deserts across the county, highlight why children living in poverty are disproportionately like to be overweight or obese, as compared to children in middle- or higher-income families.

In the Greater Washington area, nonprofits like Brainfood and FRESHFARM Markets also work to make fresh, healthy, and nutritious food available to all – regardless of income. Brainfood is a non-profit youth development organization that uses food as a tool to build life skills and promotes healthy living in a fun and safe environment. A majority of the students involved with Brainfood struggle with poverty, violence, and a school system that fails to meet their needs. Through Brainfood’s programs, students gain practical cooking skills, an introduction to the food industry, a framework for nutritious eating, and leadership experience that prepares them to make a difference in their community.

FRESHFARM Markets is both a collection of farmer’s markets in the Chesapeake Bay region, as well as a voice advocating on behalf of farmers and the right to fresh, local food. They offer four different programs that help low-income people buy healthy foods in DC and Maryland markets — accepting SNAP (EBT/Foods Stamps), WIC, and SFMNP vouchers, and offering an incentive Matching Dollars program for those vouchers.

These are only two examples among the many organizations working to relieve hunger in our community — from Capital Area Food Bank, which distributes 33 million pounds of food every year, to local food pantries like Arlington Food Assistance Center, which serves 1,600 families a week. For more information on Catalogue charities addressing hunger and poverty in your community, check out the online catalogue here, and learn about ways that you can make a difference as a donor or volunteer.