By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator
& Sherika Brooks, Executive Assistant
This Saturday, the Catalogue team in DC (Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator, and Sherika Brooks, Executive Assistant) spent the afternoon volunteering at Day of Nurture, an event organized by In One Day and supported by Catalogue nonprofit Thrive DC. For the second month in a row, Day of Nurture has provided meals to the homeless in Franklin Square, as well as information about services that Thrive DC offers for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Along with a great crew of volunteers from MeetUp.com and DC Volunteers, Sherika and I pitched in to provide a healthy meal of donated food, drinks, and even popsicles to a group of over 100 individuals who either spend time in the park regularly or were informed about the event during canvassing the week before. Both Sherika and I felt lucky to experience the work of a Catalogue nonprofit first hand, and look forward to spending more time volunteering with Catalogue nonprofits over the coming months.
Thankfully for In One Day, Washington DC is one city that still allows the provision of outdoor public meals for the homeless at a time when many cities are pushing to ban the practice. The Huffington Post recently wrote about the city of Philadelphia’s ban on feeding the homeless outdoors, following the lead of other major cities including Atlanta, San Diego and Los Angeles. Over 50 cities across the country have enacted anti-camping or anti-food-sharing laws. Public officials who support this legislation argue that the laws prevent the spread of illness, direct the homeless to other services, and protect local parks from damage. However, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reports that the same cities that have enacted such laws “have recently seen an increase in overall homelessness and family homelessness.” We hope that DC continues to allow direct service and meal provision to individuals experiencing homelessness throughout the city and hope to contribute further to efforts such as Day of Nurture in the future!
For more information about additional Catalogue nonprofits offering services to Greater Washington’s homeless population, check out Catalogue’s Human Services nonprofits here.