Mail Carriers Food Drive Breaks All Records

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A big shout out to Larry and all of his very dedicated mail carriers and the folks who donated food during the recent Mail Carriers Food Drive.

For the 25th year in a row, letter carriers across the United States displayed concern, compassion and commitment to their postal customers—and to the communities in which they work and live—by participating in the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, the nation’s largest one-day food collection effort.

Food was shared between various food donation agencies in Silver City including St. Francis Associates, The St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry and the Silver City Gospel Mission, among others.

No final tally of total food collected is available yet, but the Mission received more than 2 bins of food averaging around 2 1/2 tons that will go a long way in helping us meet our mission of feeding the hungry in Silver City.

The mail carriers were really on the ball this year and Carriers stuffed bags in mailboxes throughout the city in the days leading up to the drive that served as a reminder to donate and made it easy to do so. Picking up these grocery-store sized bags filled with canned goods in addition to their regular duties really shows how much these guys care and is much appreciated.

And our community deserves a giant hand for really going overboard this year in their donations.

Thanks guys for a job well done and for your extra effort to make this food drive the success it was!

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A Letter From A Widow

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I recently received a letter from a very nice woman who is going through some tough times, that I thought I’d share with you.

This can be very discouraging work sometimes.  Many times, it seems like we are taking two steps back for every one step forward, but occasionally we do see a ray of hope.

Dear Mr. Salars;

Recently I lost my husband and best friend to cancer and am hurting in ways that are indescribable.  My days are spent working full time.  My nights are spent doing homework and taking care of two small children.  I don’t have shared duties with a spouse anymore.  Everything, including the bread-winning is now on my plate.

I just wanted to thank you for the service you provide at the Mission.  In the past I have dropped clothes off, but I never dreamed we would ever need your services.  The food we have been getting has been a Godsend and even the clothes have come in handy.

I know you probably don’t hear it very often, but our small family thanks you and your staff from the bottom of our hearts for your friendliness and help.

~ Name withheld upon request.

Now this young mother even sent in a photo so I would remember who she was and there was a sticky note attached that read “I take pictures of me smiling, but the truth is my nights are spent in tears.”

Now it is letters like this that make all of this worthwhile and attitudes like this young ladies that make me appreciate our small town and the help so many of us are able to give in so many ways.

TomorrowSaturday, May 6 – We will be participating in Give Grandly.  This is a 24 hour day of giving to support the non-profits in our area.  From 12:01 am until 11:59 pm, we will be working alongside 52 other Grant County non-profits to raise awareness – and dollars – for our individual programs.

AND – thanks to the generosity of Freeport McMoRan and the United Way of Southwest New Mexico – we have a chance to have our donations matched if we can get to their threshold! Your donation will be effectively DOUBLED!

So we are asking you to help us in our work.  Last year the Mission was able to feed 35,261 hungry souls in the soup kitchen and hand out 4,892 food boxes.  For every $1.16 you give the Mission, we are able to feed one person and for every dollar that we do receive, .91 cents goes back into helping those we serve with the remainder going to operating costs.

We are a non-profit, non-denominational Christian charity who serves anyone, without question who comes through our doors and tomorrow we are asking for your support.

How can I help?  

There are several very easy ways to give.

  1. If you want to come see my smiling face…. and make me smile bigger by handing me a check, cash or having me run your credit card, come see me at the Silver City Farmers Market in downtown Silver City between 8:30 am and 2:30 pm.
  2. Visit www.givegrandly.org and click donate and then select Silver City Gospel Mission
  3. Text to 41444 and type “grandly”   follow the prompts and select Silver City Gospel Mission

Every single dollar counts toward feeding, clothing and giving hope to your neighbor who might just need a little bit of love.

Thank you and I hope to see many of you tomorrow!

Randy Salars
Director
Silver City Gospel Mission

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The Endless Fight With Hunger

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In 2012, RT’s Anastasia Churkina made this report on the harsh reality of America’s recession that led to hunger and poverty.  Sadly, this video is still relevant up to these days.  Watch what remained relevant to the people not just in America but to all people around the world.

Every single day, too many men, women, children suffer from hunger from all countries around the world.

Hunger is synonymous with famine, starvation and undernourishment.  All of these lead to malnutrition which is a negative condition affecting an individual who lacks consumption of nutritious foods.  World hunger is another serious thing which refers to the scarcity of food in a country.

Hunger is caused by a lot of complex interconnected factors.   Poverty, conflicts between countries, overpopulation, climate change and many others are some of the known major causes of hunger.

As a highly-developed country, America is still better off than the majority of the other countries in the world.  Per the WFP’s report showing the Hunger Map 2015, USA is included in the 5% that comprises those countries that have very low Prevalence of Undernourishment in the population in 2014-16.  (Source: Hunger Map 2015)

No matter how well the government of a country strives to provide well for its communities, there are always people out there who are left out with nothing to eat.  The fight to end hunger is still a continuing advocacy among many organizations all around the world.

Humanitarian organizations like the World Food Programme has long been involved in fighting hunger across the globe.  Other non-profit organizations in America such as Silver City’s The Gospel Mission also do the same out of their desire to contribute to the endless fight against hunger—providing free food from their food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.

Even with all the programs provided by these charity organizations, it is not guaranteed that the fight against hunger will come to an end.  So, it is important that people who have the capacity to feed the hungry come to embrace this advocacy and pass it on to the next generations, as well.

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What Type Of Food Do We Serve At The Mission?

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I had a question the other day from a health conscious citizen about the types of meals we serve in the soup kitchen and the food we give out in the food pantry.

I think we do a pretty good job, but there is always room for improvement and a lot of the time it depends on what we have on hand or can afford.

We get our food from Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque, rescue it from WalMart, Albertsons, Food Basket, CVS and a few Restaurants around town, we get donations from First American Bank and Freeport McMoRan of fair animals in the fall, we get donations from some of our donation boxes around town, numerous private donations that are dropped off at the Mission food pantry, leftovers from special events and a fair amount of produce that we grow in the Mission garden.

We also had a WNMU intern come in awhile back and rework all of the Mission soup kitchen recipes so they were more nutritious and used items we had regularly donated (and we published a cookbook/storybook which is available on Amazon.com).

Currently anyone who is hungry can get one of our own food boxes each month and if they meet Government guidelines they can also get another TEFAP food box that same month (if they live in our area).

The soup kitchen is open for breakfast Monday through Friday and for lunch Monday through Saturday (we are looking for a group to cook on Sundays if you are interested).

Below is the list of food we try and give out in our boxes, daily fresh food distributions and meal plans for the soup kitchen.  If we don’t have a certain item on hand, we ask the community at large or certain groups to step up and help us out and if we have the funds available we may purchase it.

We understand that these amounts are not very much and may not be enough to feed a family for even more than a few days, but they are meant more as a stop-gap emergency measure to keep people going until they receive their paychecks, food stamps and we use our soup kitchen for those who are truly in need on a daily basis.

We normally hand out more than 500 food boxes and serve anywhere from 3,500-4,000 meals in our soup kitchen monthly.  You can read more about the demographics we serve here.

CANNED GOODS
1 Protein item (1 peanut butter, 2 tuna fish, etc)
1-2 cans of fruit
4 cans of vegetables
1-2 cans beans or legumes
1-2 can tomato or spaghetti sauce
2 packages ramen
1 Loaf bread (from cart in thrift store)
1 recipe for above

STAPLE ITEMS
1 bag pinto beans
1 bag rice
1 bag sugar
1 bag flour
1 box milk
1 bag salt
1 box spaghetti or noodles
2 desserts or snacks
1 recipe for above

DAIRY, PRODUCE AND MILK
(From daily outside distribution by the walk-in)
1-2 Dairy
2-4 Produce
1-2 Meat

Homeless
2 cans Vienna Sausage
2 Fruit Cups
1 Package crackers, nuts or snacks
1 Bottle water or juice
1 plastic spoon

DIABETIC BOX
2 Tuna Fish
2 Oatmeal
2 Frozen Vegetables
2 Frozen Fruit
2 Beans

SOUP KITCHEN BREAKFAST
Cereal
Oatmeal
Fresh Fruit, if available
Bacon or Sausage, if available
Milk
Juice
Coffee
Water

SOUP KITCHEN LUNCH AND DINNER
1 Protein item
1 (or more) Vegetables
1 Fruit (if available)
1 Bread or Grain
1 Dessert (No dessert items out until after 10 am)
Milk
Coffee
Water
Juice

Most of the time it’s pretty well-balanced and enough to keep someone from starving for a short period of time.

Some of the services we offer besides food are:

  • A case worker for any needs besides food or clothing (counseling, ID cards, bus passes if available, food stamp applications, hms co-pays for the homeless, hud housing apps, government benefits, referals to other agencies, etc)
  • Nurse on call every other Wednesday
  • Bible Study and spiritual counseling
  • Life and work skills training
  • Volunteer opportunities for those who want to give back
  • Community Service hours in lieu of fines
  • Clothing bank
  • Thrift store at dirt-cheap prices
  • 1 time household setup of needed items
  • Public showers, laundry and bathroom
  • Hygiene kits
  • Homeless survival kits
  • Women and Children’s transitional home
  • Men’s cold weather shelter
  • Student internships
  • Seniors citizen and school mobile food pantries

We could always use some extra help in the form of volunteers, cash or goods or if you have any ideas on how we can improve our ministry, we’d love to talk to you!

And we are always searching for more ways to encourage, motivate and help those we serve and like to try new and creative ideas to help them get back on their feet.

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The State Of Homelessness In The USA

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Homelessness Defined

Simply defined, homelessness is the state of having no home or permanent place of residence.  But it is a state far more complicated than this given definition.  In America, many organizations—both the government agencies in charge of providing programs for homeless individuals and the privately-managed organizations whose mission is to help in the elimination of the state of homelessness in the country—have defined homelessness in different ways.

In the United Nations Demographic Yearbook review by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division, Demographic and Social Statistic Branch, it was discussed that the correct definition of a homeless household should be, in accordance with the United Nations Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses which states that “homeless households are those households without a shelter that would fall within the scope of living quarters. They carry their few possessions with them, sleeping in the streets, in doorways or on piers, or in any other space, on a more or less random basis.”

Per the Health Resources and Services Administration , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “A homeless individual is an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.” A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation. [Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C., 254b)]

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  uses ‘homeless’ to describe a person who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.  HUD recognizes four categories under which individuals and families might qualify as homeless.  It is upon these that the services are provided to the homeless individual or families.

  • Category 1 – Literally Homeless
  • Category 2 – Imminent Risk of Homeless
  • Category 3 – Homeless Under Other Federal Statutes
  • Category 4 – Fleeing/Attempting to Flee Domestic Violence

All these definitions point to a common thing—that is the lack of permanent place to stay.

Homelessness Statistics

Homelessness exists around the world.  Even the most powerful and richest countries in the world have people who experience this social problem.  In the United States, the Point-In-Time Count or simply termed ‘homeless count’ (http://homelesshub.ca/solutions/monitoring-progress/point-time-counts) that was carried out in January 2016 reveals that there were 549,928 people suffering from homelessness in one single night; 68% were sheltered and 32% unsheltered.  Out of this number, 355,212 people are experiencing homelessness as individuals, accounting for 65% of the homeless population while the 194,716 people are in families with children experiencing homelessness, representing 35% of the homeless population. (https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2016-AHAR-Part-1.pdf)

Whether this information is accurate or not—is not the main issue.  It is enough to point out that homelessness is one of America’s existing social crises that its government and its people have to address.  There is a great opportunity for all able-bodied Americans to extend their hand and help in the advocacy to eliminate homelessness in America.

Causes of Homelessness

Having no net worth, not being employed, and having low-paying jobs have always been included in the factors that lead to the state of homelessness.  Families remain homeless because in the first place, they cannot afford to pay for housing units.  While those who have jobs and were able to acquire a house but still live through negative cash flow often end up in debts and in the end, have their properties foreclosed by credit companies.

Family members who learn to gamble to increase their low income often come to worse situations that they tend to give up their belongings including their homes.

Abusing drugs also adds up to these causes, and so does having broken families. Most children who grew up without their parents’ help and have had difficult childhoods tend to join the pack of young cocaine users.  Growing up from this kind of situation, these children make it through the streets and abandon their homes.

These are just few of the many reasons why there are homeless people in the country.  The list could go on and on.  It’s not like these people chose to live this way.  As they say, at some point in a man’s life, shit happens.

How to Help

Out of pure love and the desire to help others and the country, some private non-profit organizations have offered their resources and services to help a number of homeless people in the country.  They welcome the homeless men, women and children into their shelters through their own homeless help programs.  With the growing number of homeless people in America, more of these kinds of organizations and even well-off individuals who are willing to lend a hand are still needed for the country to get by with the situation.

If you feel that you are one of these passionate individuals, you can reach out to these organizations and partner with them to keep channeling the help and assistance that these homeless people need.

Learn more about helping the homeless here.

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