Tag Archives: poverty

New Beginnings

by Dr. Chad Audi

Many people look forward to this time of year. A new year is approaching, and it offers the opportune time for new beginnings.

For the homeless in this country, we pray that 2016 will bring them hope and help. Ours is a God of second chances. So, anything is possible. He is patient, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The disadvantaged are His children, too. They deserve love and opportunities.

Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we believe in second chances, and third chances, and so on. We are in the business of rebuilding lives, one at a time. DRMM provides the tools that the homeless need to get back on their feet: a hot shower, food, clothing, counseling, career training, medical and dental assistance, substance abuse treatment, and spiritual nourishment.

We don’t know what 2016 will bring, but our New Year’s wish is that more people will escape the hardships of poverty, unemployment and addiction that often lead to homelessness.

Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions can be to help the homeless and others in need. Consider supporting the important work of non-profit organizations like DRMM through donations and volunteering. Your commitment will help change lives.

Sure, you can still make your resolution to give up a personal, bad habit. But at the same time, resolve to give to others for the New Year.

May God shower you with blessings today and into 2016.

Dr. Chad Audi

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What Are You Thankful For?

by Dr. Chad Audi

There are so many terrible things happening in our world today. The Paris terrorist attacks. The bombing of a Russian jetliner. Shootings and racist incidents on college campuses.  All of these tragedies and turmoil can make it difficult to find joy in this holiday season. But just as God makes beauty out of ashes, so should we find enjoyment in the spirit of the holiday.

Ask yourself what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Perhaps you’re grateful for having a good job or a roof over your head or food on the table. These are all things that we should delight in this holiday, even as incidents happening all around us suggest a civilization immersed in hatred, violence, and mistreatment.

You may have heard about the homeless man in Detroit who was lured to a fast food restaurant drive-through window by an employee who promised him a sandwich, only to throw a cup of water at him when he approached. The video of the incident went viral, causing outrage around the world.

Heartless and cruel acts such as this have no place in our society. The homeless and impoverished are entitled to dignity and respect, just like anyone else. Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we work to restore the self-esteem and confidence of our clients. Many have lived on the mean streets for several years, fighting off attackers while fighting to stay alive. Most of us can’t imagine going through what they have endured, much less surviving it. When they make it to our facilities seeking help, we show them that they deserve better.

When you sit down at your Thanksgiving meal, say a prayer that the world will become a little kinder and that one day we’ll treat each other as Jesus would have us to do.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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Bringing Awareness to Hunger & Homelessness

by Dr. Chad Audi

From now until the end of the year, a lot of attention will be placed on America’s homeless population. The nation is wrapping up a five-year plan to end veteran homelessness. Plus, the week before Thanksgiving is known as National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week.

That week, November 14-22, is a time to shed light on the issues of hunger and homelessness. It comes at a time of the year when most Americans are thinking about the things for which they are thankful. Undoubtedly, among the top things to be thankful for is having food on the table and a roof over your head. Just think, on any given night there are more than 578,000 people in this country who don’t have these basic necessities of life.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) understands that we all are only one or two paychecks away from being homeless or hungry. Many poor people are at a high risk of becoming homeless, because they can’t afford housing.

As the temperatures start to fall, DRMM is preparing for the usual increase in the number of homeless coming to our doors for shelter from the cold. Most are scared, hungry, and short on hope. We give them food, a hot shower, clothing, and a reason to hope.

So, what can YOU do during National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week? Organize a drive to collect money, food, toiletries, blankets, hats and socks for your local homeless shelters. Hold a prayer vigil that calls attention to the plight of the homeless. Volunteer your time at an agency that helps the homeless — and bring your friends and family members. Or, exercise your political power and write to your legislators to advocate for policy solutions to poverty and homelessness.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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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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Homeless Jesus

by Dr. Chad Audi

A 7-foot bronze sculpture depicting Jesus as a homeless man huddled under a blanket on a park bench is stirring up controversy around the world. The statue is identifiable as Jesus only by the crucifixion wounds on his feet. The sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, has installed casts in the U.S., Canada and Europe. And now it could be coming to my home of Detroit.

An anonymous donor who grew up in a Detroit suburb is contributing the $32,000 needed to have the statue installed. But the reactions are mixed.

While Pope Francis calls it a “beautiful and excellent” representation of Jesus, others say it demeans Jesus. And yet others have mistaken the statue for a homeless person and alerted police.

The artist says the sculpture is meant as a call to action among Christians. He sees it as a way to inspire people to help those in need. In fact, people have been leaving money, food and other items for the homeless at the statue outside a church in Buffalo, New York.

So, should we welcome the so-called “Homeless Jesus” as a sign of the hunger and despair faced by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe? Is the sculpture a means of confronting homelessness and drawing attention to the plight of the homeless?

Well, let’s start by asking “What would Jesus think?”

We know that Jesus showed his concern for the homeless and poor. He talked about feeding the hungry and caring for the needy. Matthew 25:45 reads, “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ ”

Jesus himself spent much of his life as a homeless person. He was a homeless baby, born in a stable. Later, during His public ministry, He didn’t have a permanent place to call home. And, when he was crucified, he was stripped of everything — home, clothing and possessions.

Here at Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we provide services to more than 1,400 homeless and needy people every day. One could argue that the donor’s generous contribution could have been put to better use at the many non-profit organizations in the Detroit area like ours that provide a multitude of services to the homeless, hungry and disadvantaged.

But one thing is for sure, the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture is guaranteed to make you stop and think. Let me know your thoughts.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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Give our Children and Youth a Chance

by Dr. Chad Audi

The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates 2.5 million children are homeless each year. As the number of homeless families in this country continues to be alarming and of major concern, it’s important that we reach out to children and youth to help prevent the factors that can lead to future homelessness. These causes include poverty, substance abuse, a lack of education and job skills, single parenting, and traumatic experiences.

In order to help keep young people on a positive track, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) offers a number of services for the most vulnerable group in our society. Throughout the year, we provide recreation and prevention programs for children. Every summer, we provide a unique camping experience for hundreds of inner city kids at our 240-acre ranch. And, we offer transitional housing for teen mothers and their children — enabling them to finish their education, while learning parenting skills.

Recently, DRMM joined with award-winning author and journalist Mitch Albom, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, and the City of Detroit to announce funding for the renovation and re-opening of a recreation center that had been shuttered due to budget cuts.

Led by Mitch’s charitable organization, S.A.Y. Detroit, the plan calls for new outdoor athletic fields, an indoor practice facility, and educational and sports programs. As S.A.Y. Detroit’s operating partner, DRMM will help run the center’s activities and oversee the restoration of the facility.

All of us understand the importance of giving children engaging, fun, and educational activities to participate in after school. They need outlets to help stimulate their minds, expend their physical energy, and to keep them from getting distracted by the wrong things. Stafford has pledged to help shape the future of the children who use the recreation center.

That’s what it’s all about — providing kids with a chance to succeed and the opportunity for a brighter future.

Dr. Chad Audi

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The Holiday Spirit

 

by Dr. Chad Audi

In the spirit of the holidays, a Florida judge has presented a gift to 90-year-old Arnold Abbott. The elderly World War II veteran had been arrested and given several citations for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But, now the judge has temporarily halted the ordinance.

For several years, Mr. Abbott’s non-profit organization has fed the city’s homeless. Supporters from around the world empathized with Abbott and his efforts to make sure all of the city’s hungry were fed.

Although the nation’s homeless population is the most vulnerable to hunger, an estimated 50 million Americans go to bed and awake hungry, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. That’s an incredible number. And sadly, about one in five of them are children.

Here at Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we serve thousands of people who are experiencing food insecurity. We feed more than 3,500 people each day. In addition to the homeless individuals in our shelters, we serve dinner to members of the community who can’t afford to eat regularly or provide nutritious meals for their families.

DRMM also reaches out to communities surrounding Detroit to help those in need. This holiday season, we donated food boxes to 50 families in the neighboring city of Dearborn, Michigan. The U.S. Census Bureau reports nearly 26-percent of that city’s population lives below the poverty level. Each food box included items such as turkey, beef, rice, cooking oil, seasonings and sugar — enough to last a family of six for two weeks. In total, the families have more than 150 children.

Won’t you open your hearts this holiday season and help us feed the hungry?

“For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25: 35)
Dr. Chad Audi

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