Giving Thanks.

I opened my email this morning, and a quote in one of the emails struck me. 

"Never underestimate your ability to make someone else's life better - even if you never know it."
~ Greg Louganis

Today, as we start to launch into the Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for every person that has donated to BDHH these last 3 years. While I haven't been here to witness it all, I see what every dollar does every day. I see the impact volunteers make on the staff and the guests. I see what every donation of clothing, books, and food does. I see exactly how far it goes.

While I'm still getting flustered over how I'm going to cook the turkey and if my parents and my in-laws are going to get along, each day I'm here I'm so overwhelmed by the generosity of this community. I see 80 men, 20 women, and 7 families that are fed, sheltered, and safe because of each of those donations. 

Today I'm thankful for you. I'm thankful for every person who has been a part of BDHH, big or small. This week we celebrate one of our families moving into their own apartment just in time for the holidays. And while we will miss them because they've brought such joy to our lives, we are so happy to see the both of them and their little girl home safe in their own place! Every donation has helped this family get back on their feet, and they never stopped fighting. Mom never stopped working, and Dad never stopped taking care of their little girl. They just needed a hand up, and through you, BDHH was able to give that. 

I am so thankful. 

Reflections.

About a month ago, we held out annual "A Night of Hope for the Homeless" event. With this event, we have 12 leaders in business and the community come together to experience a fraction of what a typical night for a homeless individual is.

They experience check-in, with their belongings rifled through and checked. They sit through a powerful and emotional program that puts homelessness into perspective, and then they spend the evening sleeping in refrigerator boxes in the BDHH parking lot.

It's a humbling experience.

However, the humbling experience for me came the other morning when I woke up to it being 18 degrees outside. For the past 5 years, I've lived in Dallas, TX. It's 75 on Christmas in Dallas most years. After 5 years in that environment, your body adapts. The rude morning awakening of 18 degrees and how absolutely cold I felt to my core was my perspective. It was just the beginning of November, and this weather would keep up for months. 

I was suddenly very thankful for my bed, my covers, my home, and especially my heater. I ran to my car, ran into work, and turned on my space heater. But on the way in, I passed by women, men, and children that were trying desperately to stay warm through this first frigid day. They were carrying bags of their belongings, hiding their heads into their jackets to block the wind. I spent 5 minutes outside, they spend hours... sometimes they spend the night. 

It motivated my day. It motivated me to do everything I can for these people that don't have the luxuries I do... to make sure that these doors stay open, and they continue to have a place that's warm to come and sleep, to shower, to eat a meal. How cold I felt in 5 minutes motivated an entire day of working for every man, woman, and child in that line.

Will you be joining with us this winter to make a difference? I hope so!

Everyone's Got a Story

When I was in my first Journalism course in college, my professor told me the most important part of Journalism wasn't getting all the facts and figures... it wasn't making sure that the story's lede was a ka-pow... it was making sure the story had humanity

People are the most important part of our lives. As humans, we require social interaction to be full-filled. We live in communities, we cherish family, and we are biologically programmed to create more humans. Journalism was all about telling people's stories. Everyone has one. Everyone has a story that got them from where they started to where they are now. 

I've been in this position for a couple weeks, and the most moving and emotional part of this job is hearing a new story almost every day. Everyone arrives in a homeless shelter for different reasons. Sometimes we find ourselves making assumptions about the homeless... we assume they don't want to work, that they gamble all the time, or that they are struggling with substance abuse issues. Some of that is true. For some people, that's their story.

But it's not everyone's. 

Our guests come from so many different backgrounds and are in so many different situations. A lot of the guests have jobs, but are waiting on housing to fall into place. Some of our guests lost their jobs in layoffs and ended up here after their savings ran dry and are regularly going to job interviews. Some of the families we see have been struggling to find low income housing, for which there is a three-year waiting list for in Sioux Falls. Many of our residents struggle with mental health issues that need to be stabilized before moving forward.

We can't assume. We have to get to know the story.

Right now we have a guest that is 85-years-old. Imagine the story there. Imagine what a life they led before ending up here. 

So while sometimes our assumptions are correct, a lot of the time they aren't. BDHH strives to understand the situation of everyone that walks through our doors. We welcome them with open arms into a place that will foster change if that's what they want to get out of it. We let them tell their story, and we try to get them the tools and resources they need to fix their situation. 

I encourage anyone who is curious what we do here or how we do it to come to the facility and take a tour. See it for yourself. Hear the stories. 

“Everyone has a story to tell, everyone is a writer. Some are written in the books and some are confined to hearts.” -Savi Sharma

 

 

Comm-UNITY

As someone who just moved to Sioux Falls from a life living in large metropolitan areas, I have been struck by the sense of community here.

It sounds so small, so insignificant, to be surprised by a sense of community; it's not.

Sioux Falls is a community of people with common goals, common purposes, and a common core. Coming from a large city, I didn't feel the same sense of community loyalty I feel here. Here, I shop at the farmer's market. Here, I support local causes whenever possible. Here, I meet my neighbors and we chat about our favorite local hangout. 

Sioux Falls has given me a sense of community that I had never experienced. When I started working for BDHH, I realized just how much this extends. This community extends its arms to everyone: to me, to you, and to those that are in desperate need for a little help. BDHH runs almost entirely on donations from this community-- from YOU! How incredible is that? How incredible is it that we live in a community that stretches out their arms and tries to do what they can for everyone they can?

BDHH isn't a one-man show. It keeps operating because of the community, because people like you understand the need for this facility. It runs because of every $5, $50, or $500 donation. It runs because people come in and help us build shelves or serve lunches. It runs because Minnehaha County Human Services works alongside us to place families in better, permanent housing situations. It works because we get donations of computers, school supplies, food, and money. 

Sioux Falls is a community and every person that walks through the doors of the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House is our neighbor. So far this year, we have seen over 1,300 unique individuals walk through these doors needing help. Open Doors, Open Arms is our policy. As a community, we need to stand together to keep those doors open. We need to help our fellow man/woman/child in their time of crisis. One person can make all the difference in the world. One person can start a chain reaction. One person can ignite a community. 

We are one community. All it takes is you

A New Addition to the Team

It's a been a while since our last update, but we've got big things happening at BDHH! The first bit of news is... ME! I'm Amanda, and I was hired on a couple weeks ago to be the new Development Coordinator for BDHH. I couldn't be more thrilled to be joining this awesome team, and I'm fired up to get started. 

A little about me: I'm originally from Detroit, MI... go Red Wings! I lived there most of my life before moving to Dallas, TX where I worked for a large photography corporation. But, I missed the seasons and the Midwest life, so I ventured my way here to Sioux Falls, SD, and I can't tell you how much I love it! I missed having crisp fall days and debating whether or not it was going to snow by the time we hit Halloween... missed cider mills and falling leaves. Though, I'll admit, I didn't miss the snow (okay, I missed it a little...). 

Sioux Falls has easily won my heart, however, so I'm excited this next chapter of my life and with BDHH is right here! 

If you don't already follow us on Facebook, please do so!
Our Facebook is where you can receive the most up-to-date happenings at BDHH. You'll also be able to see our upcoming events and get links to important information we may post. Also, you can post your own photos of your experiences at BDHH, whether just visiting or volunteering. We would love to see what you've taken! 

Speaking of events, we are starting to kick off our annual "A Night of Hope for the Homeless" event. This is one of our major events for the year, and it really helps us get a jump on raising the funds for our operating budget. Check out that link for more information about the event and sponsorship opportunities! 

In the words of House Stark, "Winter is Coming" and all of us at BDHH are starting to prep for the coming cold months when our numbers will greatly increase. Stay tuned to find out ways you can help us prepare! 

Until next time,

Amanda 

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

 

Things happening at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House 1.0

As usual, at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House we welcome people.  Our business helps those in need.  We offer a place to do laundry, eat lunch and offer a warm environment.  We do all that every day.  Here are some new things happening at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House:

The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House has partnered with Sanford Health Cooperative also known as the Health Co-Op.  They provide a team consisted of a women's health Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Practice and Credentialed Registered Nurses, a Pharmacist, a Social Worker, an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist and a Dietitian to assist anyone with health complications.  The Sanford Health Co-Op team will be here on the first and third Thursdays 8:30AM - 3:00PM.  

Volunteer news:  Though during the winter months we need plenty of extra hands from the community to help us out in various areas, we also need many volunteers during the summer months to continue our mission to help those in need.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at info@bdhh.org or (605) 809-8424. 

"Strangers"

Ancient Jew presented civilization with a radical cultural insight about strangers: they were to be welcomed.  That was not a common sentiment in antiquity or in tribal cultures elsewhere up to the present.  Strangers were suspect.  They were considered threat first and often not given a chance to be proven otherwise.  Strangers were killed.

Jews held a strikingly different view.  Along with a mandate to care for widows and orphans who were without standing once the man was gone, Jews treated strangers with hospitality because they just might be a messenger from God, in other words, just might be an angel. 

And sometimes the strangers were. 

Christians inherited the idea and the basic belief that the One God loved all creation - strangers included - without reservation.  Slaves, women, children sinners of every kind were found worthy of God's love and by extension, worthy of another person's hospitality. 

It was a radical idea 3,000 years ago.  And it's just as radical now.  Hospitality was not an easy practice then and it hasn't gotten any easier, yet the civic behavior we take as "nice" is rooted in the faith of our fathers and mothers from half a world away. 

It takes daily effort to practice that faith.  The task is made more challenging because some strangers are such a mess.  Yet, if we are faithful to our call, every day we welcome a stranger, we welcome the One God who calls all creation good.