A Recipe for Success: Cookies and Second Chances

Mary Jane Ward is receiving a very special present on her 55th birthday — a graduation certificate from Together We Bake (TWB), a nonprofit that teaches life and culinary skills to women who need a second chance. Once homeless and despondent over her future, Ward is excited to see where her new skills in baking, food safety and customer service, along with her ServSafe certification, will take her. All 12 women who started  the eight-week course completed it, and about 75 …

A Warm Atmosphere at a Hypothermia Shelter

Soft, melodic piano chords fill the sanctuary of the Church of St. Clement in Alexandria, Va., early one morning. I get up from my cot to investigate. A man is thoughtfully creating music on the church piano. He pauses between chords, listening, thinking. “That’s beautiful,” I tell him. “You must be a professional.” Yes, he was, the former hip-hop musician tells me. He continues, speaking softly, gesturing with his hands. “Creating music is like building with Legos. It’s all about building …

For Many Veterans, the Battles Don’t End With the War

It seems so easy. We pass a veteran in uniform in an airport or on the street and we nod and say, “Thank you for your service.” It is a gracious greeting that is much appreciated by these men and women who have fought or stood bravely for the ideals of freedom for which America stands. But the fact is that, though veterans respond in kind to appreciation, many have brought the battlefield home with them in various ways. >> …

Older Men Rescued After Years in Houston ‘Dungeon’

Police responding to a 911 call on July 19 found four men – ages 79, 74, 65 and 54 – being held in “deplorable conditions” behind a door that was nailed shut in a north Houston neighborhood. Sgt. Steven Murdock told the Associated Press that at least one of the men was a military veteran, and that their living conditions were like a “dungeon.” Murdock said the men told investigators that their Social Security checks were being taken from them, …

Older, Homeless, No Family Caregiver – What Do They Do?

Get ready to see more older homeless men and women on the street. Since most don’t have families or are estranged from them, there’s no family caregiver. Here’s a TED talk that gives perspective on homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports there are 1.6 million homeless people a year on any given day. According to an NPR story, more than half of single homeless adults are age 47+. Younger boomers born between 1955-1965 are driving the aging …

Volunteers Washed Away in Severe Weather

Here in Washington, D.C. most people have stocked their cabinets with water, batteries and non-perishable foods and settled into their cozy homes to weather the severe rain and wind that Hurricane Sandy is unleashing. But what about those who don’t have a roof over their head? The reality is that their situation becomes very fragile during these times because many of the services the homeless rely on operate only with the generous help of volunteers. And with the severe weather …