Hospitality Collaborative Expansion

July 9, 2015

In many ways organizations grow pretty much the same ways as we humans do. They experience periods of growth that is relatively stable and predictable, and then there are those growth spurts. The BSM Hospitality Collaborative is now in the midst of one of those spurts (think of that gangly 10 year old suddenly a few inches taller). It’s an exciting time, and one that we have anticipated for several months.

Increasing the number of meals has always been a priority for us. Our guests have told us many times how much they look forward to dining at BSM, and with the recent addition of breakfast on Monday mornings, we have made some significant strides to make sure that they now can have appetizing and healthy meals six days a week. Also we are planning to add another breakfast in early fall.  Of course none of this could happen without the generous responses we have received from our volunteers, who have so graciously stepped up to make this particular growth spurt a successful one.

Adding meals means adding services. To do this in a mindful way also has meant creating more capacity on our Social Service team, and that has meant bringing on board two case managers (or concierges, as we like to call them), Michael McKee and Geremi James, to make sure that our guests do not fall between the sizeable cracks that they often encounter when navigating through the myriad programs they may be eligible to participate in. Both Geremi and Michael bring the right balance of competence and compassion to their work that will ensure that our guests will receive the same hospitality from these dedicated professionals that they do at every meal.

Since our last BROADcast we have also added two partner organizations to our service offerings – the Coalition Against Hunger, and the Health Federation of Philadelphia. The Coalition Against Hunger comes regularly to our meals to provide information to our guests about how to access SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as Food Stamps). The team from the Health Federation of Philadelphia also comes weekly to assist our guests with health insurance issues, like Medicare and Medicaid. The vast majority of our guests are eligible to receive such benefits as these, so we are grateful that these partner organizations come to BSM regularly to enroll our guests into these vital programs.

Finally, our Therapeutic Arts program has expanded beyond the art table on Thursdays. We have added a knitting club to our offerings, and it has been well received by a number of guests who attend regularly. While knitting scarfs, blankets, and afghans on Monday mornings, the members of the club are also knitting a community of friends and neighbors. In addition one of our volunteers and donor, Christine Laussier, is a highly skilled certified yoga instructor, who brings her skills, patience and quietly powerful demeanor to a weekly yoga practice in the Sunday School Room.

So, the gangly ten-year old is growing up fast. Along with the Development and Faith teams, the Hospitality Collaborative’s growth spurt is an exciting one. The pencil marks on the door jamb indicate that more milestones are no doubt on the way.