Serving up Hope
At Miriam’s Kitchen, help begins with a meal. “That’s the starting point,” explains Jim Reschovsky, a senior fellow at Mathematica and the volunteer coordinator guiding our efforts to help Miriam’s Kitchen, which aims to end chronic homelessness in Washington, D.C. “Offering a warm meal is the way social workers get to know clients, assess their situations, and help them get the support they need,” he adds. Clients also receive social services, ranging from therapeutic activities such as writing, art, and poetry to housing advocacy.
Helping out with meals is the starting point for Mathematica’s volunteers. For more than a decade, staff have worked in the kitchen and dining room as servers, cooks, and hosts once a month.
“That’s the primary activity. But we really contribute so much more,” says Jim. In addition to serving up warm meals, Mathematica volunteers have contributed services ranging from yoga lessons and help with the annual fundraising gala, to guidance on evaluating the effectiveness of the organization.
For Jim and other Mathematica volunteers, volunteering at Miriam’s Kitchen is a natural outgrowth of their professional work.
“We’re an organization that does research for the betterment of society. Our focus is on the disadvantaged,” he says. “You find many like-minded Mathematica employees who want to take that commitment to a personal level.
Intersections: Where Research Meets Real Life