The Hunger Partner for June is Siena/Francis House. The following is an excerpt from their Spring Newsletter: “2013 was a successful year for the Siena/Francis House, in terms of our service to the homeless of our community. With your support, and on your behalf, our organization served 421,138 meals and provided 180,386 overnight stays to 3,591 homeless families and individuals who sought assistance last year. The 180,386 overnight stays is a record number for our shelter or for any shelter in Nebraska. As I looked more closely at our services to the homeless in 2013, several poignant pieces of information emerged, including:
• The average number of persons who were provided overnight accommodations each
evening was 494; a record number. As we have 389 total beds, an average of 105 men,
women, and children slept on overflow mats on the floor, or in chairs each night.
• The average number of meals we served each day was 1,154.
• Women and children (975) represented 27% of the total homeless - 208 were children.
• 450 were homeless youth.
• 353 were military veterans, 17 of whom were women.
• 1,073 persons reported serious disabilities, many with multiple conditions.
• 205 persons participated in our residential addiction recovery program.”
Summers are a particularly challenging time for pantry programs because most folks are more “tuned into” hunger needs during the Thanksgiving & Christmas seasons. We hope you’ll support Nebraska’s largest provider of meals to the homeless with a contribution during the month of June. Use the envelopes in the Friendship Folders, or simply mark your check for hunger.
Attention Gardeners: At the time of this writing we still have a few plots available if you or someone you know wants to garden with us. We ask $10 for a 10’ x 10’ space, and it is tilled and fenced, plus we supply the water and hoses. You can plant whatever you wish, but we do ask that when you grow more than you need, to please donate the extra for our Sunday Garden Mart. And we are glad to accept produce you grow at home for our mart too – just bring it Sunday morning!
The Mart usually gets started about this time in the spring and goes thru mid-October. We set up in the Commons, from 9 to noon (or until the produce runs out). The first few weeks are likely to include berries, herbs, lettuce, peas, spinach, radishes, onions, and other “early summer produce.” In July and August tomatoes (including heirloom varieties), cucumbers, corn, summer squash, beans and peppers finally appear. Later produce will include melons, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and gourds, plus other “fall harvest items.” And did you know - when we have more produce than shoppers on Sunday morning, we donate the “left over” to Crossroads Prison Ministry - and it’s delivered that same Sunday evening by our church bus as it transports inmates to the worship service and dinner.
Of course, one of the best features of our mart is that we have no set prices– you donate whatever they wish. ALL money donated goes to local hunger relief at the end of the season. Most of that is donated to the Food Bank for the Heartland. Lesser amounts have been given to smaller pantries, other hunger-related causes or used to buy food for some of Crossroads Prison Ministry’s dinners. In total – we have raised over $13,000 in our first 8 years! That is amazing – and we couldn’t do it without you!