Twice a month for the past two years, Craig Loundas, director of UPHS Leadership Development and Talent Management, trades his Penn “hat” for one in hospitality, serving dinner to some of the 200 to 300 people who gather for a meal and social services at the Broad Street Ministry. “Radical hospitality” ranks high at BSM, Loundas said, which he described as “an active desire to invite, welcome, receive and care for those who are strangers.”
Food is not provided cafeteria style but, rather, guests are served at their tables. “I always introduce myself to the guests and talk with them. This is an opportunity to get a meal at a safe place.”
Although the organization does not offer overnight accommodations (except when Bethesda Project runs an overnight cafe), it does offer more than just meals. There’s a clothing closet with donated clothing and a post office box available so those who are homeless or are sleeping at someone’s house can receive mail.
In addition, “they supply health-care supplies and talk to the guests about medication adherence to reduce visits to the ER.” Thanks to a Penn Medicine CAREs grant, there will be many more toiletries and medical supplies, including blood pressure cuffs, to help in the Ministry’s outreach efforts.
A thank-you letter from the Ministry for the grant says it all: “We are so grateful for this contribution and for your faithful volunteer service. Your support helps Broad Street Ministry build this amazing community where food and fellowship lead to so much more…. Our goal is to make sure that each person knows he or she matters.”
Click here for more information about the Broad Street Ministry and how you can help.
Do You Volunteer?
If you volunteer your time to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve, your organization might be eligible for a Penn Medicine CAREs grant. To apply, click here. The deadline for the next quarterly grant is June 1.