At Miriam's Kitchen, our mission is to assist individuals in need in the Foggy Bottom community of Washington, D.C. As a volunteer-based, non-profit organization, we provide a hot, nutritious breakfast in an atmosphere of dignity and respect, and we work to address the causes and consequences of homelessness both directly and through facilitating connections with existing community services. In 2002, Miriam's has broadened our organizational goals to include continuing our case management program and beginning our transitional housing program, allowing us to meet the needs of our homeless neighbors better.
Description of current programs activities and accomplishments: 1. The Breakfast Program -- Miriam's oldest program, the breakfast program is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 8 AM each weekday morning. Every month, Miriam's Kitchen serves on average over 2,700 hot, nutritious breakfasts for our homeless neighbors to an average of 160 men and women each weekday morning. Miriam's has been open every weekday morning since October 1983, including holidays and during blizzards and heat waves. With the addition of a professionally trained chef in 2001, our new name on the street is "Chez Miriam's." Following 9/11, the number of breakfast guests that we serve increased by 18 percent. 2. Case Management -- Now in its third year, Miriam's Case Management program is staffed by a Director of Social Services and two full-time case managers. The case managers engage clients in their short term needs, and also provide such basic services as a mailing address/voice mail, weekly alcoholics anonymous meetings, medical services provided by Unity Health Care on Friday morning, and weekly legal assistance provided through the Washington Council of Agencies. Each morning approximately 40 clients access services through the case management program. Miriam's recognizes that some of the people who are homeless in our service area and need our assistance the most do not attend our breakfast program. For this reason, we regularly conduct street outreach to make contact with individuals on the streets, invite them to attend breakfast, and connect them with services to meet their needs. 3. Creative Engagement Programs -- Miriam's Kitchen hosts a series of Art and Creative Writing programs that meet weekly immediately after breakfast. Run by volunteers, these groups provide a creative forum for our breakfast guests, a way to stay out of the heat and cold after our breakfast program is over, and help us to develop stronger, therapeutic relationships with our clients. In the fall of 2003, Miriam's looks forward to having an art therapist intern to oversee the after-breakfast services. These programs include: a. Creative Writing Programs -- Established in 1994, the Miriam's Writer's Forum meets twice each week on Wednesday and Friday to give individuals an opportunity to give voice to their experiences, while providing a space that gives their voice the respect and resonance they deserve. Miriam's poets have also held over 30 public readings of their work to share with and educate the larger community about homelessness. In October 2002, Soft Concrete Stairs, Poetry and Artwork from Miriam's Kitchen debuted as the third anthology of creative writing and artwork by the participants in the creative engagement programs. b. Visual Arts Program -- Also established in 1994, the visual arts program meets once each week to explore their experiences through art. Miriam's artists have been shown in 3 gallery exhibitions and have been featured on WUSA Channel 9 news and the local NPR affiliate, WAMU. 4. Arnold's Place Transitional Housing Program -- In 2003, Miriam's Kitchen purchased a house to use as a Transitional Housing Program for our guests who are ready to move on to permanent housing. Miriam's named Arnold's Place in memory of Arnold Scroggins, one of our long-time clients who died of hypothermia in February 2002. The program will provide four of clients with 12-24 months of supportive transitional housing until permanent housing can be secured. We anticipate having the program open for clients by fall 2003.