Friday, May 29, 2009

Philly Homeless on Time's Top 100 Influential People

Sister Mary Scullion, from Philadelphia, has earned a spot on Time Magazine's Top 100 Influential People List for 2009. Her humble response was:
"I am profoundly grateful and moved by this honor," Sister Mary said; "but the crucial message is the urgent need to respond to those men, women and children who are still on our streets and in our shelters. None of us are home until all of us are home."
Read the complete article...

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Philadelphia!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great Quote

The great thing about serving the poor is that there is no competition.
- Eugene Rivers

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tents on Wheels Give Homeless a Roof

One small idea turned into a great project for LA native, Peter Samuelson. Seeing homeless individuals living in tents on the beach in Santa Monica made Samuelson wonder if that simple shelter could change the lives of homeless people throughout the city. Partnering with a local design school, he set out to make a great "next step" for his homeless neighbors. Read this great article about the project!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cafe Dishes Up Eco-Friendly Food

Habana Outpost, located in Brooklyn, NY, dishes up some amazing food and is creatively helping the planet at the same time. Check out this great video, sharing the owner's vision for a restaurant that encompasses good food, good fun and good for the environment practices.

Learn how you can serve with CSM in New York!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Recently, a local pastor who ministers in Southeast DC called me in distress on a
Tuesday night as I was hosting a group. Pastor Bob told me of a couple that he has known for a while and who were suddenly being evicted from their house that night. The immediacy of the situation was on Bob’s lips as he explained how he was trying to pack up their stuff and place it in storage before the landlord’s deadline. He asked me if there were any groups I could send him the next morning to help unload the moving van, and I knew I couldn’t refuse him no matter how hard it would be to rearrange the schedule for the next day.

These are the moments – when my heart breaks for the people who have lost their home – that I also remember the hope that I cling to. The hope that allows
students from all over North America to come to Washington, DC and think that they can make a difference in the lives of the people in this area. The hope that propels Pastor Bob to create a safe haven for the evicted couple in the temporary housing he gives them until another situation can be found. The hope that is inherent in all of the ministries we work with who try to find that home again for the people who have lost it, through meals, through social services, through dignified service, through friendships. This is the hope that knows that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but blessed is His name. This is the hope that knows:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the
courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh
sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, at
your altars, O Lord of hosts, my
King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in
your house, ever singing your praise!
Psalm 84: 1-4

In this time of foreclosures and economic uncertainty, I hope that we remember where our home is. And as we encounter the homeless around us, I pray that we will strive to be able to bring them home to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ...

-Kristen Erbelding, CSM Washington DC Associate City Director

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Homeless Couple Have Dream Wedding

Thanks to a loving congregation, a Washington DC homeless couple recently had the wedding of their dreams. Check out this amazing article...

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Washington DC!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lower Crime in LA, Much Thanks to LAPD

This is a good article about crime decreasing in Los Angeles. Because of the new police chief and an active police unit, crime has been
decreasing in many parts of Los Angeles that are notoriously dangerous. Being a police officer is a tough job, we need to continue to pray for the LAPD as it continues to be one of the toughest jobs in the city.

-Jon Vales, CSM Los Angeles Associate City Director

Friday, May 15, 2009

High Hopes in Stimulus Money for the Nation's Capital

There's a lot of hope riding in the stimulus money being funneled down from the White House. The city that surrounds that building is hoping that it can benefit from and be looked to as an example of how similar urban centers can be revitalized. Read more in a recent Washington Business Journal article...

Thursday, May 14, 2009


A poem by Viviana Afanador

More than a number,
More than a Picture…
Every one has a story
We breathe,
We live,
And we die

Poverty: it’s more than just a word,
It’s a way of life
Too much pain,
Captured at a tender age
The click of a camera—
Our eyes exposed

Eyes that betray the pain inside,
Eyes that search for more, for hope
Eyes that drop tears, leaving trails of clean skin
Eyes that are turned towards heaven

Ravaged by a vicious world,
Abandoned by forgetful lives,
Our hollow hearts beat inside these beaten bodies
We live in margins,
The corners of your mind

Here we are,
Existing on the same planet
Living in opposite worlds
Our biggest dreams sketch your worst nightmare

Speak out,
Step up
With a breath of love,
Break the mold
Can’t you see?
We are the least of these
Unheeded in this hurried world

Keep your coins—
We want change

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in the urban center!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jesus People USA Loving on Chicago

One of CSM Chicago's ministry partners is Jesus People USA (JPUSA). They're a beautiful, intentional community dedicated to literally serving people where they're at. Their ministry grows and changes to the needs of their surrounding community.
An article in the May/June issue of ESA (Evangelicals for Social Action) explores the inner-workings of this amazing ministry!

Learn how YOU can partner with CSM in Chicago!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FL Boy Walking to DC for Homeless Kids

Zach Bonner is not your average 11-year-old. He's done more charity work than the average 30-year-old. This kid has a huge heart for the less fortunate and is doing something about it!
Zach is taking his concern and love for homeless kids to the street - literally. He'll be walking from his home in Tampa, FL to Washington DC to raise awareness about the children in this country living on the streets. He will be raising money for a local DC shelter and hopes to meet with President Obama when he arrives.
Check out this great article to learn more about Zach's trek. You can also follow Zach's progess at!

Learn how you can serve in Washington DC with CSM!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Denver Gardeners feed Homeless

Denver gardeners are catching on to a new trend - sharing their crops with homeless neighbors. As I was reading this article, I couldn't help but realize that this is modern-day gleaning. Back in the Old Testament, farmers were required by the law to allow the poor to gather the extra crop after harvesting and also plant some crop specifically for their less fortunate neighbors along the edges of their field.
This is a beautiful illustration of God's generous heart. He created a system that allowed the poor to work (gaining dignity along the way) and be fed. The modern day example shows two ways gardeners can share their harvest with the poor - planting and harvesting a specific section of their garden for homeless shelters or inviting a family in need to sow their own plot of land.
Do you have a garden you can utilize to feed your neighbor? Tell us about it!!

Learn how you can serve with CSM in Denver!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! To all the moms out there that are struggling, that want a better life for their kids and that live selflessly day in and day out - we honor you.

Learn how you can serve individuals like Shannon in Los Angeles with CSM!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Visiting Photographer's Perspective of the Big Apple

James Hill, a Russian photographer, took a series of photographs on NYC - in it are some of his findings of NYC and his perspective as a visitor.

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in New York City!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

News from the Street

In many of our cities, men and women who are homeless are able to sell newspapers on the street to make income. In Washington, DC this newspaper is called Street Sense, and it seeks to raise the public's awareness of the issues of homelessness by not only writing about policies, but featuring poetry, artwork, and editorials by people who are currently experiencing homelessness. The New York Times recently highlighted Street Sense in this audio slideshow, and also an article about the rising circulation of street papers across the U.S. despite the troubled economy. Check the article!

-Kristen Erbelding, CSM Washington DC Associate City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Washington DC!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Come See...Come Feel...Come Learn

At the end of the day, we try to process through what the students are seeing and feeling, what they’re being taught. One day I did this simple little exercise called, “I saw, I felt, I learned…” Here’s what one of my girls experienced…
"I saw...a woman excited from a bingo prize....a man blessed by a school with every kind of wall....a drug deal....Christ being the bridge....a park with the deepest contrast...a child's smile. a dumpster full of cardboard...beautiful home. peace in the face of greed...a man with no home. a tent as a palace...brokenness....I felt...touched. cold concrete...the thick air....the tenderness of a lonely heart...the tears of the people...unworthy of my wealth...ashamed....and a need of compassion....I learned...that brokenness looks like many things...a smile is God's compassion....the non-wealthy are forget focus on the things look past dirt, grime, poverty, cardboard, darkness and to see the light."
Through her eyes, I saw hope. Each student that comes through our doors has a different experience. Hers encouraged me and renewed a sense of purpose. God has called me to the city for such a time as this. In Isaiah (58:5-12), the writer talks about being a “restorer of streets to dwell in”; I feel like that’s what I was made for.

-Britani Wade, CSM Houston Associate City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in urban ministry!

Monday, May 04, 2009

MacArthur Park Renovations

This is an article about MacArthur Park. Notoriously known for gang activity, the park has seen some major renovations over the past few months. It is showing that the city really does care about the people in this community, although sometimes its hard to care about everybody's needs.
-Jon Vales, CSM Los Angeles Associate City Director

Friday, May 01, 2009

Growing Green in the Bronx

The cover article of the May issue of Sojourners is entitled "Growing a Green Economy". It's about a lady from the Bronx who started a non-profit to help the environment as well as create jobs.
It's a great article - check it out!

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in the Bronx and throughout New York City!