Below is my letter to a friend who asked me how she could help.
Thank you for your email, and for your desire to help! Yes, this is the Mathewson Street United Methodist Church in Providence where Kathy and I volunteer every Sunday at 7 AM.
Some background: The Sunday Friendship Breakfast depends heavily on donations, money, grants, food donations, and volunteers. I don't know the whole story but I believe this idea came from two men who thought they could make a difference, Pastor Jack Jones, and Mr. Scott Budnick. Three years ago they saw the need and decided to do something. From this beginning, The Breakfast has grown. The church now feeds around 800 folks monthly that are "on the edge” and also facilitates many other good works. It just shows what one can do if you put your mind to it.
I use "on the edge" as an encompassing term that includes many people who are homeless, many who are hungry, many who are poor, out of a job, or out of luck, some who are victims of domestic violence, some substance abusers, and a percentage that are mentally challenged or ill. They are a reflection of people everywhere. I call them "The Invisibles" because they are easy to overlook from where I live.
I have been making portraits of these folks for about 2 months. I give them prints and they usually like them. Pastor Jones has said "This is an affirmation" (of their humanity, that they matter). Yes, it is.
Unfortunately these people don't have much of a voice at the state house. However, there are advocates who speak for them. In fact, there will be a vigil at the statehouse tomorrow. The RI Interfaith Coalition To Reduce Poverty is holding their "Vigil, 2015" at 3 PM. Come if you can. It's free.
Kathy and I will gratefully accept any help you can give collecting clothing or food for the needy. I'll gladly transport whatever you can have to the church. As far as volunteering at the breakfast, you should contact Mr. Budnick about that. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org,
Below are some of my portraits. I've always been pretty good getting people to smile, even if they might not feel like it.