Buy Art, Help the Homeless… Or just help the homeless

Homeless man in Washington D.C. (Image from The Guardian).

15% of all sales from my Etsy shop from now through the New Year’s will be donated to Miriam’s Kitchen. Read on for more about this great organization and other ways to help those less fortunate this holiday season. 

This year, my husband and I decided to divide our charitable support for food banks in our two hometowns, Farmington, New Mexico and Columbus, Ohio, along with Miriam’s Kitchen, a homeless advocacy center in Washington, D.C (my adopted city). We can’t give a lot, but we thought it was important with how many people are struggling to get by this year.

Image from http://www.chrisabraham.com

In New Mexico, we are supporting the Echo Food Bank in Farmington. In Ohio, we’ve given a small donation to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. Huge tip: if you give to the Mid-Ohio Food bank before December 19th, your donation will be matched, thanks to a group of area businesses.

Of the many causes I care about, homelessness and hunger are especially important for me. In a nutshell, it is very hard for me to abide the notion of someone sleeping on the streets, in the cold, unable to buy themselves a meal if they are hungry.

This is why I’m a huge advocate for Miriam’s Kitchen, which prepares healthy meals daily for anyone who needs them. In addition, they offer case management services to help homeless families and individuals get back on their feet.

But they go even beyond that. The icing on the cake is the various activities and classes they offer, including art therapy sessions (with an on-staff art therapist), yoga, and so on.

Image from streetnewsservice.org
Image from streetnewsservice.org

I don’t think it’s enough that we simply take care of the body, but the mind and spirit, too. It’s not just about feeding people, but restoring their humanity and dignity, too.

Art Therapy Blog

Watch this video to learn more about the incredible work they do:

It can be easy to become apathetic about a problem as seemingly intractable and pervasive as homelessness, but here are just a few anecdotes illustrating some of Miriam Kitchen’s recent successes:

“There’s Wiley, who received housing through a program for veterans, after rotating on and off the streets for several years.
There’s Mike, whose housing this year allowed him to return to school.
There’s Sally, a cancer survivor who has reconnected with her family, and is able to live with them again.
We couldn’t be happier for each of them, and the others who have been housed in 2013. They inspire and remind us that our mission is possible.” – Scott Schenkelberg, President and CEO

This is why I’m pleased to say that 15% of all sales from Etsy shop from now through the New Year’s will be donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, in addition to the donation I’ve already made.

You don’t have to give that way, however. If you are willing and able, I encourage you to make a donation directly to Miriam’s Kitchen by following this link. If you live and work in the Washington, D.C. area, I also encourage you to try volunteering for this organization, which has been called one of the best places to volunteer in the district by several publications, including Washingtonian Magazine and Washington Business Journal.

Wherever you are and however you decide to help those less fortunate this year, may the holidays find you warm and sheltered with loved ones.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Heather

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