This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Jeff Richards.
Homeless shelters are pulling out all the stops to keep their doors open for the city’s neediest, providing shelter, food and services in the biting wind and two feet of snow.
Miriam’s Kitchen, located just off campus at 24th and G streets, serves a hot breakfast and dinner and offers case management services to local homeless men and women regardless of weather. Miriam´s Kitchen is in the basement of Western Presbyterian Church.
“We make special efforts to ensure we never have to cancel our services in inclement weather,” said Scott Schenkelberg, the executive director of Miriam’s Kitchen, in an e-mail to supporters of the program. “In fact, in our 27 years of service to DC’s homeless community, we have never once had to close our doors.”
Schenkelberg said that on Tuesday alone the group “served 106 homeless men and women a complete breakfast of scrambled eggs, buttermilk pancakes drizzled with warm maple syrup, roasted potatoes, stone-ground grits, garden salad, and homemade applesauce.”
Chef Steve Badt hosted sleepovers for staff and volunteers to guarantee the doors will open at 6:30 a.m. each morning, Schenkelberg said in the e-mail.
Miram’s Kitchen continues to provide a warm place to get away from the cold, as well as socks and sleeping bags for those who wish to stay outside.
GW professor Mark Mullen e-mailed his students Wednesday saying he heard from a colleague that Miriam’s Kitchen was in desperate need of dry men’s clothing.
“They had over 60 people show up this morning soaking wet from having slept outside all night. At this point, and given these conditions, GW students are probably the closest help available. If you think you can spare some clothing or even some of your time, please help them out,” Mullen’s e-mail said.
Miriam’s Kitchen is open to donations of warm socks, gloves, hats and scarves. They also ask residents to clear sidewalks to make it easier for people to get to Miriam’s Kitchen.
Donations of warm sleeping bags, blankets and tarp supplies are also requested, as “many of Miriam’s Kitchen guests sleep outdoors despite the weather.” The District is also stepping up its aid to the homeless because of the difficult weather conditions.
“We have three warming centers, all shelters are open with food [and] vans are driving through the city to bring people to shelters,” said Helen Hare, the D.C. Department of Human Services communications director, in an e-mail.
If anyone outside is in need of shelter, D.C.’s Hypothermia Shelter Hotline can be reached at 1-800-535-7252.