Posted by Kirsty Bryant- Hassler '12
D.C. Central Kitchens produces 4,500 meals a day that are delivered to CCNV, the Community of Creative Non-Violence, one the largest shelters in the country. They make enough meals to cater to the shelters in the greater D.C. area. DCCK has catered weddings, bar mitzvahs, and has class's set-up to teach the people that they are feeding, and in turn this population is able to receive a Food Handlin g license. Feeding people, and providing jobs for them in the community in which they live, is only some of the things that DCCK is able to provide for the community. DCCK is an organization that has a huge impact on the homeless population, and provides a healthy sense of community for this population.
Arriving at DCCK a little late due to my night-shift at the N Street Shelter for women, I was even a little nervous to jump in. However, I was not even given a chance to think when we bought into the kitchen and thrown into the midst of food and chaos. One of the workers who we were supposed to follow soon got lost in the crowd. Finally we were semi-settled and I began the task of counting and separating chicken for the different shelters in D.C. Other students made roast beef sandwiches, salad, and turkey stew with vegetables and roux. While the experience was a tidbit stressful, the whole time I was motivated to get as much done as possible. Everyone working together for the same cause, with the same goals for change, is what DCCK aims to provide for the entire community of D.C.
Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV)
posted by Chrissie Walker '12
After lunch today, we visited the Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV). CCNV is a large building which houses many other operations in addition to its own organization. In the basement is DC Central Kitchen which we spent time at this morning. There are also a couple facilities for those with addition problems. In the building, there are two 12 hour shelters meaning clients only spend the night there, but leave during the day. At these shelters the clients' spots are not saved so the clients change from night to night. This is extremely different from CCNV. CCNV is a shelter for steady clients to come for a longer stay. While at CCNV we heard from Donald Page. He informed us of both the history of CCNV and current facts.
CCNV was started by a group of recent college graduates. They saw a need for a facility that would not only serve meals and house clients for the night, but take more of an interest in their well-being. They founded CCNV to fill this void. The CCNV building was originally built for the Navy while the Pentagon was being built. Once the Navy moved the building was empty. CCNV got permission from the government to use the building for a winter, but convinced the government to let them stay after that.
The large building is extremely beneficial to the many clients CCNV houses. CCNV is one of the largest shelters in the country. It has the ability to house about 1300 people at one time. When we visited the estimate was between 800 and 900 clients. The male to female ratio is about 3:1. Only the first floor houses women. All the other floors are for men. The men are divided for floors by age. CCNV has many programs for their clients to help them find jobs. They also have many programs to help them enjoy their stay such as computer and art classes. CCNV relies heavily on donations of both money and objects. Many people donate furniture, clothes, and other belongings. Mr. Page told us that most of the money donations are for less than $100, commonly $10 and $20. This really gave the impression that every little bit helps. All of these donations add up over time. CCNV runs on about 600-800 thousand dollars a year. In addition to donation, CCNV receives some money from the government and other organizations.
It was nice to hear about how many clients have great success because of CCNV. Mr. Page explained to us that the highest success rate is with the young people. The young males at CCNV are generally able to turn their life around with the help provided are CCNV. Unfortunately, we didn't get a tour of CCNV because they were spraying for bugs. Even with the tour though, it was easy to see how important CCNV is to the community.
Judge Nelson Rupp P '11
posted by Christina Malles '12
We met with Nelson Rupp after a long day at DCCK. He is a drug court judge for Montgomery County. He is also the father of Eddie Rupp, a student who took the course last year. To start off our discussion he asked us if we knew what drug court was. None of us had a solid idea about it except for a few scattered concepts. He began to tell us that addicts are in a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of. Throwing them in prison will in no way help them escape from the cycle. This is where drug court steps in to provide special services for their needs.
First the substance abusers go to court to get sentenced. During their sentence they are not allowed to leave the secured facility except for appointments or meetings. Some meetings they are required to go to are AA meeting 3-4 times a week and group therapy 2-3 times a week. They also must to back to drug court multiple times a week. At the end of their sentence they graduate and move on to a halfway house called Oxford homes. These homes are a safe environment for the substance abusers to continue their recovery. They can live is the homes as long as they want, as long as they pay the rent and stay clean.
After Judge Rupp's description of drug court, he told us about a huge success story of one of the substance abusers. This man was on the way to drug court when he passed by a burning house. He looked through the window and saw an older women trapped in her home. He acted quickly and broke the window to get inside to safe her. He managed to get her out safely and became a national hero. He would have never been passing by this women's house if he wasn't on his way to drug court. The old substance abuser made a full recovery and is doing fine now.
To conclude our discussion, Judge Rupp asked us how drug court relates to our course about homelessness. I must admit, at first I had no idea why we were listening to a man speak about drug court, but by the end it all made sense. A lot of homeless people are drug addicts and throwing them in jail will not solve any of their problems. Drug court gives people a second chance to get their lives back on track. Not only does it give them the tools for recovery, it also gives them a safe place to live after they graduate from the program. Judge Rupp is an amazing man who does great work.