Shattering Stereotypes and Misperceptions

Dear Friends,

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit with one of our meal guests/resource center clients to discuss an issue he was having with mail access, which is one of many services offered by our Resource Center.

After discussing his concerns and coming up with a solution, I asked him how he first became a member of the Shepherd’s Table family. As it turns out, this guest/client has an engineering degree, has traveled to 5 continents, and has lived in a dozen European and Latin American cities. We had a lengthy conversation, ranging from FIFA to our favorite Latin American authors, to the challenges of emerging democracies in Eastern Europe. The depth of knowledge and global awareness of this client was fascinating. It shatters a common misperception that many people have about the homeless being undereducated, drug-addicted, and mentally ill. While these challenges are real for some of our clients, they certainly aren’t the case for all, and homelessness and/or hunger is something that anyone of us may end up facing at some point in our lifetime.

Since you are reading this, I suspect that I am likely preaching to the choir. I request that you share this sentiment with your family and friends, and make them aware that Shepherd’s Table is here to help.

We are the ONLY organization in the entire metropolitan Washington region that offers cooked meals multiple times a day, 365 days a year, and we couple our meal services with a whole array of social services including the provision of a mailbox. It seems simple, but is a vital service for anyone in between homes, living in a shelter, in their car, or on a family/friend’s couch. Earlier this year, we learned that 38% of clients that were surveyed receive their mail here. After meals and clothes, this was the highest used social service. We couldn’t do what we do without the generous support of thousands of donors and volunteers who are as much a part of the Shepherd’s Table family as the people we serve. THANK YOU for being an integral part of the family, and please help us continue to fulfill our collective mission by sharing our story and recruiting new members to the cause of ending homelessness and hunger in our region.

Manuel Hidalgo
Executive Director

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