It is never good to be hungry or homeless, but in 2014 Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless was able to help nearly 200 agencies across the state to better serve people in need. We reviewed a record number of applicants and especially targeted areas where we could have most impact. Our Special Initiative in 2014 to address the frightening shortage of shelter beds available to homeless people in Greater Minnesota (41% unsheltered) added 239 shelter beds and 100’s of motel vouchers where most needed.
The end of the year for OYH means evaluating our success, determining how we helped communities improve life for hungry and homeless people. With just 2.4 full time equivalent staff and 7.2% admin and fundraising costs, our efficiency means donor’s funds are making a big difference. That is important because most of our funding comes from individuals like you who work hard and are willing to share.
Measuring success is more than numbers and when you get through the statistics of how much food was distributed, how many homeless people were helped, or how school supplies and warm clothing found their way to homeless students, there are challenges of real people. Most are quietly trying to rebuild lives that may have been split apart by lost work, family break-ups, physical or mental illness, domestic violence or any of too many other reasons.
How do we really measure the impact on the life of a child who instead of living in a van with his family now has a warm bed and clean clothes? Or the mom who can finally escape the daily abuse of her partner with a safe and supportive first step to a better life? How do we measure the impact of caring shelter for a struggling veteran who faced his demons living in a storage shed? Like the homeless teen now able to escape a life of ‘couch hopping’ from one dangerous house to another, there are stories behind each of the Minnesotans helped because of the support of individuals and businesses in our community. It is because of you that this work is possible. We can’t help unless you do. Please consider renewing your support today.