Saints Serve with Susan's Place
By Betsy Lizotte
People experiencing homelessness desire community and a place to call home, said the New Hope Housing Director of Development, Jan-Michael Sacharko. He has worked to end homelessness for 15 years. According to Sacharko, without an address, it is very difficult to get a job. Without a job, it is impossible to pay for a place to live. This makes homelessness cyclical. Since 1972, many long-term mental institutions closed down and smaller, community-based supportive housing projects were supposed to replace them, but didn’t, said Mr. Sacharko. This resulted in many mentally impaired people becoming homeless.
Local nonprofit agencies like New Hope Housing saw a dire need to provide housing to all homeless people, including the mentally impaired. According to Sacharko, a large part of ending homelessness is providing food for the residents of nonprofit housing.
Doing their part to support the effort to end homelessness, Marymount students recently prepared and served dinner to residents of Susan’s Place. Located minutes from Marymount University, Susan’s Place provides permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless adults who suffer from a mental and/or physical impairment.
Once every month, the Marymount Ministry team and student volunteers cook for, and serve meals to, the residents. Marymount’s inaugural trip to the house for the 2016-17 school year, which the ministry team organized, was held on September 22nd.
Amidst the noises of banging the chicken to make cutlets for the chicken cordon bleu and crunching the pretzels for the butterscotch-pretzel bars, there was an air of camaraderie and teamwork amongst the eight Marymount students and trip coordinator. “Tonight’s menu is Chicken Cordon Bleu, Caesar salad, and butterscotch-pretzel bars,” said Ashton Mallon, the Marymount Ministries’ trip coordinator.
Raising her voice above the din of the banging and crunching, Ms. Mallon said, “this program started because one of the most important things to me is teaching students and adults that there’s just as much needed right around you. Because it’s your own backyard.”