How many times do you stop during the day and say “I’m glad I’m indoors”?
Probably not too often.
We recently had our first day session with the 2018 classes, focusing on Hunger and Poverty. Every year, this day reminds me of something new to not take for granted. This year happens to be the weather.
It’s raining heavily as I write this.
The day with our Class Experience was an uncheerfully snow-filled day in February. Luckily, everyone was able to dress appropriately and the most time we spent outside was walking to and from the car and the buildings. And this specific day wasn’t even the worst of it.
Buffalo knows a thing or two about the cold. When temperatures drop to dangerous levels (15 degrees and below), shelters across Buffalo provide warming through the Code Blue Collaborative. It hit Code Blue 15 times in January alone. Three sites open for Code Blue; Restoration Society Inc. Harbor House (241 Genesee Street), St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy (321 Walden Ave) and Matt Urban Hope Center (385 Paderewski Drive).
We were honored to have lunch at the Matt Urban Center’s Broadway location and hear from Joyelle Tedeschi (LB ’17), Chief Program Officer. She discussed the abundance of services offered through the agency including housing services, youth and family services, senior services, Urban Diner, Homeless Outreach, assistance for domestic violence victims, and much more. She also shared a few tear-jerking success stories of clients.
It is when speakers like Joyelle open your eyes to what is happening around you and to whom, that you stop and take a moment to be grateful. Personally, I am grateful for the individuals like Joyelle and the agencies that provide the resources and assistance to people in need.
Agencies like Matt Urban Center are always in need of donations, take a look at the list here and see if you can help.
The class was split into small groups and volunteered at agencies throughout Buffalo:
- Food Bank of WNY: distributing food and support throughout WNY
- Buffalo City Mission: serving homeless men, women and children with education, food, clothing and shelter
- 716 Ministries of WNY: providing economic capacity and property revitalization throughout WNY
- Goodwill of WNY: helping people earn a living, improve their lives, and strengthen their families and their communities
- Salvation Army: providing services to people in need
- Harvest House: provides retreat space to over 120 teenage, adult and family groups per year
We also heard from Jeremy Besch (EB ’18), Head of the Park School. He presented on a related topic; privilege. Understanding your privilege and acknowledging it is so imperative, but more importantly is what you do with it. Use the leverage you have to assist those in need. Use what has been given to you and make something better.
I’ve been fortunate enough to hear Jeremy speak a few times and he always references an article by Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. If you have five minutes, it is definitely worth the read.
A blog on our Hunger and Poverty Day is a challenge as it is a massive issue and a few paragraphs don’t begin to scratch the surface of its severity.
So I ask you, next time you want to be quick to judge…take a minute to reconsider.