When Be the Change in DC was created in late 2006, the organization recruited 10-15 people to volunteer at soup kitchen events organized by So Others Might Eat (SOME) on the third Saturday of every month. On these days, Be the Change in DC was responsible for gathering enough volunteers to serve lunch to approximately 200 people. Having organized many of these events, Be the Change in DC found the soup kitchen events were an excellent way to raise awareness about Be the Change in DC in the community and to form a relationship with SOME.
Be the Change in DC’s mission is to help the homeless community by engaging the general public in service and social events that do not require a consistent time commitment. Other organizations have attacked homelessness at its very roots, but many people who cannot find a shelter must face living on the streets while they wait for their chance to enter treatment programs or receive transitional housing. Be the Change in DC will help the homeless survive while they are living outside, equipping them with the skills to find longer term solutions.
Be the Change in DC has identified areas within the DC metro area where many homeless live and/or spent a significant time. The organization distributes needed items—sleeping bags during the winter and cold bottled water during the summer—to the homeless we interact with in these locations. Using a model akin to Giving Back, Be the Change in DC negotiates with outdoor/camping stores, large retailers like Wal-Mart and Target and even sleeping bag manufacturers, to reduce the price per sleeping bag. This tactic enables Be the Change in DC to provide even more sleeping bags to the homeless each year by reducing the cost of the services provided.
Because Be the Change in DC has no paid staff, nearly every single dollar that the organization receives is used for its service programs.