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Party for DC's Homeless a Huge Success!

Sunday Suppers raised over $4,000 to support our mission and everyone had a great time!

Thanks to all of you who shared your evening with us. We hope you had as much fun as we did! Thanks also to our sponsors: Left Bank, La Fourchette, Grand Central and Rumba Café.

EVENT PHOTOS: Click here to see our photos from the party!


Town mayor spends 2 days homeless in D.C. 

When the assistant director for Chico State University’s Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE). spent 2 days on the streets living as a homeless person, to raise awareness, she wasn't sure what to expect. Coincidentally, she is also the mayor of the city of Chico, California.  Her thoughts: “people just walked past me, didn’t want to make any connection with me, no eye contact, did not look at me like we look at each other,” - click here to read the whole story!


Washington, DC bears dubious honor: #1 in Homelessness

An interesting article from July 9: Homelessness in suburbs, rural areas increases (USAToday.com). What caught my attention was the box of nationwide homelessness statistics on the lower left hand corner. DC's per capita homeless rate is the highest in the nation and is more than DOUBLE that of the states tied for 2nd place.



The Wheels for our Meals – a short history of Sunday Suppers vehicles

When Wayne MerrilI started Sunday Suppers in 1990, he was working out of the back of his Honda Civic. With the rear seat down, he could get one soup pot, one sandwich box and the supplies in the back.


In a couple of weeks, he decided to get a station wagon.He bought a green 1970 Buick station wagon with over 100,000 miles for $375 at the weekly Goodwill auction at the Goodwill store and car lot at the intersection of V ST & Bladensburg RD, NE. He had a flat tire driving it away from the lot. By the time he got it past MD inspection, he had about $1,000 in it. A volunteer persuaded (she said "by wearing her miniskirt") her neighbor to fabricate an illuminated Sunday Suppers sign for the roof. It made it look like a taxi. For the next 7 years, Wayne had people trying to flag me down for taxi rides.He also put 2 outdoor flood lights on the roof to light up the serving area. He had to keep the motor running while we served or all the lights would kill the battery. The first week with the flood lights, we needed a jump start from a cop. If you ask around, old timers will remember the green station wagon. It was more memorable and identifiable than the generic, non-descript white van even with the SS lettering on the sides and rear. When the Buick finally died in 1997, to be replaced by the first van, he donated it back to Goodwill.


There used to be a used car dealer named Mohammed on NY Ave at 4th ST, NW. He used to give Sunday Suppers $100 in cash every week or 2. He got most of his cars at an auction in NJ. The auction got them from dealers who had taken them in trade. When Wayne asked him about a van, Mohammed offered to take him along an auction trip.But Wayne would have to have cash. Wayne recalls:


I was prepared to spend $7,000 but I wanted to deduct it as a donation to Sunday Suppers. So I called ahead to the bank where I did my personal banking and notified them that I would need $7,000 in cash from my personal checking account the next day. The next day I went to the bank and withdrew the $7,000 in cash.I walked across the street to the bank that held the Sunday Suppers checking account, getting a receipt I could use for documentation. The teller assured me that because the deposit was in cash, the deposit would be effective immediately and I could withdraw it from the SS account. So I wrote a Sunday Suppers check to cash for $7,000 and walked out with the cash. The next day, Mohammed picked me up in his roll-back truck and we went to the auction in NJ. He advised me which van to buy: a 4-year old 1993 with 50,000 miles on it. I gave him the cash and he did the bidding. The dealer who was selling the van wanted more than $7,000 and pulled it out of the auction when nobody would bid his minimum ("reserve") price. Mohammed went to him outside and made a side deal for the $7,000 cutting out the middle man's (auction's) commission. Mohammed picked up 2 cars. He loaded one on the roll-back and hitched a tow bar to the other. I drove the van home.

When I got the bank statement of the SS account, I found out the check for $7,000 to cash had bounced. They charged SS an overdraft fee and treated it as a loan with interest that had been accruing daily. My protests, in person, with receipts showing cash deposit and times, were futile. It wound up costing a couple of hundred dollars to close the account. I had to open a new account with Chevy Chase for the second time. The same sort of problem had occurred with Chevy Chase, forcing me to close that account and open a new one with Bank of America. I had received a donation check that bounced. I had written checks against it. I was charged a bounce fee, an overdraft fee and interest accruing daily.


Sunday Suppers ran out of the white van from for twelve years. It is still functioning, but was replaced by a red Ford Econoline in the summer of 2009. The new executive director, Phill Starling, had been eyeing replacement vans for a while. Luckily, he had an auto enthusiast on the volunteer roster in James Faconer. James volunteered to peruse the Washington Post classifieds every day until something just right popped up. After seeing the ad and checking the van out himself, James called Phill and said, “this is the one, buddy.” The price was right - $1,400. Phill bought the van and got it registered in his name. Another volunteer, German Noriega, sponsored professional preparation of the logo and fabrication of the decals that now adorn the sides and rear of the van.


Sunday Suppers gets a new van!

With the help of donations from loyal supporters, Sunday Suppers has purchased a new van for our weekly activities. We are very excited about the van! Here are some of the specs on our new ride:

Make: Ford

Model: Econoline 150

Year: 1996

Mileage: 165,000

Price: $1,400

 (click on the image to see more pictures!) 

Here are some of the things that were of particular interest to me when making the purchase:

Heating: yes

A/C: yes

Rust: none

It has been a long time coming. The old van has served us well. Stay tuned for an entry recounting the exploits of "Sunday Suppers One" as she gracefully steps back into ready reserve status and gives the spotlight to "Sunday Suppers Two."