Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Bowery Mission

The Bowery Mission was founded in 1879. It took the homeless off the streets and fed the hungry. Those two things remain the same to this very day.

I recently took a tour of The Bowery Mission and was quite impressed. It's a safe haven, homeless shelter, rehabilitation center, school, and soup kitchen all rolled into one.

The tour started in the Mission's church where service is held. Everyone who chooses to stay at the Mission are required to attend service regardless of their religious beliefs but are not pressured to convert to Christianity.

Next was a tour of the kitchen where three meals are served daily not just to the people who live at the Mission but to the public as well. Many graduates of the Mission program are now on full time staff. The kitchen gets donations from City Harvest, Starbucks, and Whole Foods. The Bowery Mission eats well.

Jesus, a graduate of the program, working in the kitchen.
The Bowery Mission provides a well rounded education to those in the program. Office skills are taught. Computers are available for use and practice. High school diplomas are encouraged and there are several workshops available to help reach that goal.

Career Training & Education Center

Recreational Room
The Recreational Room at The Bowery Mission is used for a variety of activities. Study stations line the walls. There are plenty of tables so games can be played. Televisions hang from the walls for movie and sports game nights.

The Bowery Mission has a rooftop where tomatoes and peppers are grown in a small makeshift garden. The top of the building is painted white by white tops, a company that paints roofs white for cooler temperatures.

Self sustainability is what The Bowery Mission shoots for. Residents work a full 40 hour work week. Their jobs range from laundry to kitchen duty to chef. Everyone in the program earns a paycheck. Seventy percent of the paycheck goes into a personal bank account. The goal upon graduation of the program is to have a $3,000 check in savings. This money may be used towards an apartment, food, clothes, anything that will help a graduate back on their feet.

The Bowery Mission aims to provide a safe environment, health and wellness, job training, education, and strength in Christianity. Residents are given proper health care and health screenings. Discipline is enforced with curfews and lights out policies. Drug and alcohol testing is enforced. Residents follow a regimented schedule.

A Bowery Mission resident is given respect, privacy, and space with their own bunk bed and private showers. They have room for their possessions and access to a library and common areas. Counseling is available on site and support is all around.

For more than 130 years, The Bowery Mission has been around and continues to have more success.

The Bowery Mission
227 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

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