Every February for many years, the House of Charity hosted our fantastic community of friends and supporters at the Bishop’s Brunch. During the event, the staff met and thanked our donors, and they gathered encouragement from the supporters’ stories of volunteering there.
Everyone’s joyfulness injected our space with a powerful dose of hope.
Of course, the Bishop’s Brunch was also a fundraiser. It has been critical to ensuring our patrons have a reliable place to come for food, shelter and a growing list of services that offer dignity. The support our community has shown through the Bishop’s Brunch has been so important in the last few years as demand has increased at the House of Charity.
We are seeing demand increase because the city and our community partners are ramping up efforts to help individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Programs like Give Real Change are directing individuals away from street corners. Ordinances preventing camping in public are discouraging them from sleeping outside.
This February (just like last year) we are holding the Bishop’s Brunch as an event that happens by mail. This way, we can avoid interrupting the services we provide for the most vulnerable individuals in our community.
Too many of our patrons rely on the House of Charity for their midday meal for us to close even for one afternoon. On a late morning last January, the lunch crowd included people with many diverse life experiences. Scattered around the dining room, couples shared meal time together. Young patrons traded their fruits for the older patrons’ desserts.
At one end of a table, a group of friends was deep in conversation, while at the other a man worked at his lunch as his energetic puppy pulled at the cuff of his jeans. In a quiet corner, a group of smartly dressed older women who live the in apartments nearby were shoring up their fixed incomes with a free meal.
And throughout the room, there were men and women who were sitting alone and in silence, who have given up hope that life can improve. At the House of Charity, we often say it is our job to hold the hope for them until it is rekindled, to ask them to come back tomorrow just so they have a reason to.
These are the people we stay open for, the people who need any excuse to make it through one more day, to come back one more time.