A day of volunteering at Philadelphia’s largest homeless shelter
MÁS EN ESTA SECCIÓN
There are currently more than 1.5 million people who call the city of Philadelphia home.
However, according to the Office of Homeless Services, about 5,700 people are considered to be homeless in the city; about 950 of whom are unsheltered.
Due to the high number of people in the city who are experiencing homelessness, organizations like Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission have become a much needed staple in Philadelphia.
“We are Philadelphia’s only provider of three meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year,” Jeremy Montgomery, president & CEO of the organization, said in an interview.
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission is the third oldest rescue mission in the country. In addition to helping serve the homeless, it also focuses on caring for the spiritual and practical needs of people.
On July 30, FS Investments and Drexel University co-ops and summer interns volunteered at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to sort out donations, help organize linens and pillows, give out toiletries, and serve meals to the guests who visit.
“What’s particularly meaningful about [this] is that they, as a class, selected this organization to volunteer with,” Mia Fioravanti, director of corporate social responsibility at FS Investments, said. “The issue of homelessness and supporting the homeless population here in Philadelphia really resonated with them. So, they as a group, selected this organization.”
The partnership between FS Investments and Drexel has been ongoing for several years, and volunteering has become "a particularly meaningful part of the co-op experience," added Fioravanti.
As an alternative investment firm, FS Investments’ mission is to provide individual investors with access to investment solutions that have historically only been available to the very wealthy or large institutions. To enhance this effort, the firm organizes monthly volunteer opportunities for employees.
In her role, Fioravanti is responsible for driving civic engagement among employees and connecting the firm to the broader community - that includes individuals experiencing homelessness.
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission receives no government funding, which makes volunteer efforts such as this, the crux of its service since the organization was established in 1878.
“Days like this where volunteers come to support our mission, we greatly rely upon it,” said Montgomery. “Volunteers are the driving force behind what we do because if you [can] imagine, we have to leverage every dollar that we raise to be able to serve Philly’s homeless, hungry and hurting.”
He added that the volunteering efforts from different individuals and organizations really make a difference in the lives of the people Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission serves.
“Many homeless [people] feel invisible, and they feel rejected, or even lost in society,” said Montgomery. “So to have a bunch of corporations like FS to be able to come in, shows immediately to the homeless [people] that someone cares.”
Eric Stansberry, who works at the front desk as a receptionist, shares that same sentiment. He’s the first face people see when visiting Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, and he makes sure to make everyone feel welcome.
While he’s grateful for all Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission has provided him, what he appreciates most is the volunteering help he sees on a regular basis.
“It means a lot to me because it lets myself and other homeless people realize that there are still people in this world that care about the less fortunate,” said Stansberry.
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission has two locations across the city: a men’s shelter, located in Center City, and a transitional home for women in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.