There are nearly 12,000 homeless people living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, one in six of whom is a child. Students need to walk only a few blocks to M Street to get a glimpse of how serious the District’s homelessness pandemic has become.
It should weigh on the conscience of everyone on the Hilltop that so many in our city experience such suffering. Unfortunately, rather than expanding philanthropic efforts, campus programs that provided support for the homeless have recently been discontinued.
The Mobile Soup Kitchen, an initiative of the Hoya Outreach Programs & Education, lost its contributions this year from Aramark, the company that manages campus dining services. Previously, the Mobile Soup Kitchen had received soup and other supplies from the kitchens at O’Donovan Hall, but this year, Aramark has chosen to cut costs and suspend these donations.
Students are also no longer able to donate extra meals on their meal plans at the end of the week. In the past, dining hall workers were able to process the donation of these extra meals with the click of a button, but the GOCard system update last spring failed to carry over this capability — another example of a Georgetown program thoughtlessly neglecting to continue helping the homeless.
We in the Georgetown community can’t turn our backs on our homeless neighbors, and there are still many opportunities to contribute. The Georgetown-sponsored Help the Homeless Community Walk this Saturday donates $20 for every student who registers, and students can also go to Dupont Circle on Friday afternoons to serve meals with the Friday Food program.
For the four years that we’re on campus, the District and the Georgetown community provide students with a second home. Let us never forget those in this city who don’t even have one.