This week at school almost everybody went to a place called Urban Ministry. Urban Ministry is really close to school, inside of an old trainstation. The train goes RIGHT next to it still, just doesn’t stop. I suppose you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about.
Urban ministry is a place for the homeless population of Charlotte, NC. Every single day they serve lunch to anybody who comes. They don’t question you if you are in a difficult situation or not. Sometimes construction workers go there for break because there is construction happening really close. The lunch that they serve are sandwhiches and soup; but two days out of the week there is a hot meal which can be grilled chicken or meatloaf and potatoes. They don’t have soup or sandwhiches those days. They rely on people’s donations to give food out to the people who come. At school we made 73 meat and cheese sandwhiches, which probably fed around 37 people that day. (That’s a palindrome!! 73 37)
Another thing that Urban Ministry does is they have little free apartments for people to live in while they get back on their feet. To be eligible you have to be chronically homeless. That means that you have to of been homeless multiple times in the last four years OR have been homeless for more than a year; showing that you really need help starting over. I think she said that you also have to have a disability; wether it’s a physical disability or a mental one.
My favorite part of the trip was seeing the wall of art. There is a concrete retaining wall that’s pretty high up, and they have paint set up beside it. Anyone can come and create art on it who want to. There were some really amazing and talented artists that painted a lot. The woman who gave us the tour said that there was a man who found a home from painting. He remembered how he painted with his grandmother and found contact with her. He moved in with her while he found a job.
They also had a free phone service. Anyone can go and make a call for free.
There are counseling services provided, also for free (If you haven’t noticed, everything is for free). Some people go for job counseling, they work on their resumes and the counselors help them get a job. There’s also drug and alcohol addiction therapy in the upper floor of the counseling area, but that was off limits and we didn’t get to see it.
There is an art room which doubles as a meeting room. When we went there we had to be quiet and we had to go fast because there was a meeting happening. But there was so much artwork on the walls! A lot of these people are really talented and their art was beautiful. My favorite was a lion, it was really detailed. I think she said that every year they have an art show where they sell the art and raise money.
They also provide laundry and showers, but only for people above 18. They said that kids couldn’t shower because of privacy reasons, but I think that they should have maybe a private shower for people under 18. If I was homeless and my mom and dad could shower, I wouldn’t want to be dirty all of the time. I would want to be able to shower too, and I usually don’t mind being all dirty at all.
The last, and certainly not least, was the garden. They garden was full of food that anyone can pick and eat, as long as it’s ripe. A lady there told us something about someone taking vegetables home and canning them, then bringing it back. I’m not sure. The lady who showed us everything said that the soups usually have food from the garden in them.
Everything is run by volunteers and donations. If nobody bothered to help and if nobody gave their time then this could never happen. Urban Ministry predicts that they can end chronic homelessness by December of next year.
And that, my friends, is my in depth blog post for this week.