Tag Archives: communities

Cultivating Hope through Urban Farming

by Dr. Chad Audi

Across the country, urban farming has become very popular as a means of providing fresh food for the low-income, poverty-stricken and homeless.

Here in Detroit, as in many other urban cities, residents don’t always have access to grocery stores that sell fresh vegetables, fruits and meats. In addition to fast food restaurants, many people purchase food at neighborhood gas stations and convenience stores. Not a nutritious meal, for sure. But it’s often the only accessible locations for individuals without transportation and a shortage of money.

Therefore, farmers markets and urban gardens are good alternatives to feed individuals and families. Most urban gardens are tended by churches, community groups or nonprofit organizations. Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) and Cass Community Social Services are partnering with a nonprofit named Buckets of Rain to use urban farms to feed our clients. This approach helps alleviate some of the high costs of purchasing food to serve thousands of people in need each day.

In many ways, urban farming can help us break the cycle of homelessness and poverty that has afflicted our clients. We are able to spend more money on other services, such as transitional housing, job training and counseling.

Buckets of Rain constructs the urban gardens on abandoned city lots. In addition to feeding the community, the urban farms bring hope and a bright spot to blighted areas.

Our clients at DRMM have actively been involved in urban farming, too. It’s a part of their therapy. There’s a peace that comes with being one with nature and knowing that you are cultivating fresh, nutritious produce that will not only enrich your life, but also will help to sustain the community.

Dr. Chad Audi

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A Summer Experience for Kids

by Dr. Chad Audi

School is almost out for the summer. Children everywhere are looking forward to time away from the classroom and spending more time outdoors and traveling.

But not all children have the advantage of going on family trips to fun places like Disneyland or Cedar Point.

Would you believe some children have never been outside of their own neighborhood? It’s sad, but true.

For more than 40 years, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) has run a summer camp for underprivileged kids from the inner city. Our 240-acre Wildwood Ranch in Howell, Michigan is equipped with all of the best camp equipment, and we offer academic, recreational and spiritual activities. The kids love it! They see and do things they have never seen or done before. They ride horses, climb the ropes courses, go boating, room with others in a cabin, and make new friends.

Now, DRMM is pleased to be named as the new operator for another summer camp for Detroit Public Schools (DPS) students. Camp Burt Shurly is located in Gregory, Michigan and we have a lot of renovations planned, such as updating the cabins, expanding the programming, and adding a nature center. DPS has launched a campaign to raise money for the camp improvements.

Just like at Wildwood, we want to make sure that the kids have a great experience on both the educational and recreational levels.

So, when you’re watching the kids in your neighborhood play outside this summer or taking your children on a family vacation, think about the young children and teens who are experiencing the beauty of nature for the very first time at summer camps like ours.

These are the experiences that will shape their futures and broaden their horizons. All kids deserve that opportunity.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Can We End Veteran Homelessness This Year?

by Dr. Chad Audi

In 2010, President Barack Obama set a very ambitious goal — to eliminate homelessness among military veterans by the end of 2015. Well, 2015 is here. With roughly nine months remaining in the year, a lot of questions still remain.

Can it be done? Just what does it mean to eliminate veteran homelessness? And what will it take to get it done?

The two main challenges for U.S. veterans are finding jobs and affordable housing. Without these two basic necessities of life, veterans can easily fall into homelessness.

Often, it’s hard for veterans to land employment, because they don’t have the necessary skills for certain jobs. Granted, they fought for our country’s freedom. That in itself calls for plenty of life skills and the utmost bravery. However, our veterans can’t always articulate those attributes when job hunting. And, of course, when you’re unemployed, it’s less likely that you can maintain a permanent housing situation.

Last summer, First Lady Michelle Obama issued another call to action by announcing a national Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. The City of New Orleans proudly announced early this year that it was the first major city in the country to meet the challenge to end veteran homelessness. City officials there developed a system to quickly find permanent housing for homeless veterans.

Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we help homeless veterans get back on their feet by providing the resources they need: temporary and permanent housing, nutritious meals, counseling, job training, educational opportunities, medical care, transportation, and assistance searching for jobs. We depend upon donors, volunteers, corporations, federal and local government, and other charitable organizations to help DRMM pull together all of the pieces for our veterans.

Can we really end homelessness among veterans in communities across the United States by the end of this year?

One thing’s for sure. It’s going to take partnerships and commitment to make the goal a reality. Get involved today in local efforts in your community to end veteran homelessness.

Dr. Chad Audi

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What Would Dr. King Think?

by Dr. Chad Audi

As the nation pauses this month to honor the birthday of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I can’t help but wonder how Dr. King would feel about the current state of this world if he were alive today.

For example, what would he think about the condition of the civil rights movement?
How would he feel about the way justice is being delivered in this nation?
What would he think about the large number of people in this country who are homeless and poor?

Here at Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we are honoring King’s legacy, life and compassion with a call to service.

We cannot let Dr. King’s dream die.

His birthday is more than a holiday. It’s a time when we all should ask ourselves what we can do to make this world more like Dr. King’s dream — one where no one is judged by the color of their skin, but rather by the content of their character. And a world where, as Dr. King said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In honor of Dr. King and to demonstrate the compassion he possessed and preached about, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries helped two of our formerly homeless clients get a step closer to achieving their dreams. We surprised them both —presenting one woman with a car and the other with a house for her family.

We took the beliefs of Dr. King and transferred them into a generous, life-changing action that deeply touched two deserving individuals.

Now that’s something I’m sure he would have liked to witness had he been alive today.
DRMM is indeed guided by the inspirational sayings of Dr. King, especially this quote: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

Ask yourself that question today.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Ebola’s Toll

by Dr. Chad Audi

Not surprisingly, the first case of Ebola in the United States — and the patient’s subsequent death —is causing concern and fear across the country. To make matters worse, two nurses were infected after caring for the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, in the hospital prior to his death.

Of course, the disease has taken an emotional toll on Duncan’s loved ones. Not only did Louise Troh lose her fiancé, but reportedly she is now homeless after being quarantined for three weeks. The 54-year-old woman has been declared Ebola free, but she is said to have lost everything. She lost the apartment she shared with Duncan when it had to be decontaminated. And, most of her possessions were seized and incinerated.

Her situation is an example of the residual effects of Ebola. For now, Ms. Troh is living in a church conference center. The City of Dallas is partnering with the church and donors to collect enough money to pay for six months of housing for the Texas woman. The community is coming together to help ease her pain.

Thank goodness, Ms. Troh did not become infected. And thank goodness she did not lose her life. Yet, we must also consider her a “victim” of Ebola who needs the help, care and kindness of others.

Although there are conflicting viewpoints on how best to respond to and destroy the Ebola threat, we must pray for all of the people who have been affected in any way by this very serious virus.

God would have us remain calm in the midst of this brewing storm. As 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Let us all pray for the recovery of the two healthcare workers who contracted the disease. And, let’s pray for an end to the Ebola outbreak in the West African nations.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Caught in Winter’s Grip

by Dr. Chad Audi

Winter is making history. Record-breaking snow and subzero temperatures and wind chills are affecting much of the country, including the South.

All of us who have been caught in the grip of the wintry weather know how uncomfortable the biting cold feels. Your fingers and toes can begin to freeze in a matter of minutes. Most of us are able to retreat into a heated house and warm up before the onset of frostbite or hypothermia. But for those with nowhere to live, these wintry conditions are extremely dangerous and can be life threatening. Imagine the plight of our nation’s homeless. It’s unimaginable to think of living outside and sleeping in this weather, isn’t it?

Organizations like ours — the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) — give the homeless refuge from the snow and subzero temperatures. We do not turn anyone anyway at DRMM. The beds in our emergency shelters have been filled to capacity several times already this winter. So we provide chairs and place mattresses on the floor to accommodate the overflow. Just being in warm surroundings and eating a hot meal make a world of a difference to the homeless.

During this cold weather, we keep our doors open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also allow our homeless clients to remain in our emergency shelters for a longer period if the temperature is below 32 degrees. We also use this as an opportunity to extend additional help to those who have come to our door. Our case managers talk with our clients and try to determine the root cause of their homelessness. We offer them a chance to get medical treatment, counseling and transitional housing.

Unfortunately, the chronic homeless usually don’t take advantage of our assistance. However, we remain hopeful and inspired by the many lives that we are able to save and transform.

As you sit in your warm house looking out of the window at the snow and listening to the howling winds, remember those who are trying to brave the elements. Support your local shelters with donations such as coats, blankets, food, and money so that we can help the homeless survive this extremely harsh winter.

Dr. Chad Audi

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A New Year of Possibilities

By Dr. Chad Audi

2011 is here. We are entering the New Year with a lot of hope. Hope that the economy will continue to improve in 2011. Hope that the homeless, hungry and hurting will follow God’s path to a better future. And hope that more people will reach out and support the efforts of agencies like the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), which provide programs designed to get disadvantaged people off the streets and on their way to purpose-filled lives.

The festive season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve has ended. During the holidays, more of this country’s homeless population received temporary relief from hunger and loneliness by attending special dinners and parties at local shelters and social service agencies. They shared in the joy of the season by eating hearty meals and opening gifts donated by generous supporters. It is the time of the year when more people think about giving to the less fortunate.

However, helping the homeless should not be limited to the holidays. The homeless and disadvantaged need permanent, safe housing year-round. They need nutritious food on a consistent basis. And they need an opportunity to learn job skills that will lift them out of poverty permanently.

My hope for 2011 is that DRMM and other organizations around the world are able to get more financial support and volunteers so that we can continue to change hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. What is your hope for the New Year?

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