THE GUBBIO PROJECT  
December 2013
Surrounding Guests during this Sacred Season.

Christmas and the holiday season can be a wonderful time of joy, love, sharing but it can also be difficult for those who are already suffering. If you lost someone you love or feel lost and uncared for, the emphasis on loved ones can be painful.  

 

There are several ways we hope to facilitate community and a supportive atmosphere for our homeless guests:

 

- We will be providing guests with Christmas and holiday cards and stamps so they can write to loved ones while in our project. Please help by donating cards, envelopes and stamps.  

      

- On Christmas Eve day, December 24th, 9 am - 12p, we will share cookies and hot cocoa with guests. Please help us bake enough cookies as we see at least 175 individuals on a given day and during this season it may be more. We also need donations of hot cocoa (in individuals packets; add hot water, not milk please) and instant coffee! 
 

   

- We will be creating an altar in the back of the church as a space of remembrance of and for the homeless. It will be a space for our guests to honor loved ones and for our volunteers and supporters to do the same.  The altar will be set up on Monday, the 24th and will stay up until the 27th. Please join us in this communal act of solidarity and remembrance by adding something or writing a note for the altar.  Additions could include flowers, notes, or other mementos. 

 

Added Value and Harm 

~from the Director 

There has been a lot of press and outrage in SF around a Facebook post of George Gopman, AngelHack founding CEO.  If you have not seen it, you can see quotes from the post here.  In it he derided those living on the streets, called them trash, saying that they 'added not one iota of value' and that they should act like other poor people who know their place and how to beg coyly. 

 

I offer the following short observations to the dialogue on angles that I have not seen: value vs harm, and the pope. 

 

Value vs Harm.  It seems to me that all of us, each and every one of us, add some value and do some harm in the communities that we are a part of.  A smile, a product produced, a compassionate ear, a vegetable grown, a paper well-written, a drink shared - all add value; ignoring others, stealing, being patronizing or sexist, unexamined privilege and racism all harm our community.   But how do we judge overall value and harm? I would bet that most of us (not just Gopman) overestimate the value that we contribute and underestimate the harm that we do (because we don't really intend it, right?).  Do the actions that Gopman references of

some of the folks who are living on the streets (like intoxication, rudeness, outbursts) cause more harm to the community than Gopman's (or our) attitudes and actions of arrogance, impatience, intolerance of inconvenience, and lack of compassion?  They are more visible, yes; but more harmful to society as a whole? I find that a hard question to answer.  

 

The Pope.  When we talk about harm to communities, I wonder what it does to society as a whole to have people who are vulnerable in so many ways living on our streets day in and day out?  Pope Francis reflects on this in his Exhortation under a section called "No to an Economy of Exclusion" when he writes about our present economy which creates a whole 'outcast' sector of humanity and a 'globalization of indifference:' 

 

"Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own.  The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase.  In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us."

 

The pope's assessment seems 'spot on' when referencing the attitude behind Gopman's post and in pointing to the danger that faces us in our modern world. 

 

This December, may you and I be more self-aware of how we are in the world, of the value that we can add by a smile, of the harm that we can cause by our indifference.  And may we spend some time reflecting on, and then trying to create, what a 'Yes to an Economy of Inclusion' might look like.  

 

Happy, holy, and compassionate holidays, everyone, from all of us at Gubbio! 

 

~ Laura Slattery
In This Issue
Surrounding Guests during the Holidays
4 Ways to Give
Spoltlight on Artell
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4 Ways to Give during Advent

#1 Become a sustainer by committing to give monthly
The consistent support of sustainers is the backbone of our financial stability. Call to make a monthly pledge OR pledge online.

#2 Give your Car!
Going to get rid of a used car? Working or not, you can donate it to us and we'll come get it and take care of all the details. Call 415.861.5848 for more information.

#3 Buy a Gubbio tote bag
Support Gubbio by ordering tote bags with our new logo. $12 a piece. Order on our website or call 415.861.5848 to place an order. Limited quantity!


#4 Donate Winter Items
 It's been cold! Please help us keep guests safe and more comfortable. We will take hats, gloves, scarves, socks, ponchos, blankets and other winter items to distribute. Call to schedule a drop-off: 415.861.5848.
Spotlight on:
Artell Young
 

Artell began volunteering with the breakfast program about 6 months ago. Since then he's only missed two or three Fridays. He helps with many parts of the process including setting tables and mopping. He also volunteers to clean the church at the end of each workday.

Artell has been resting in the pews on and off since 2004, at the inception of The Gubbio Project. Of the Project he says, "I just like coming in here at 6am. Thank God for this church, you know? They should open more like it. It's a blessing."

Artell grew up in Oakland. Playing basketball used to be his activity of choice (he says he's too old to play now but we bet he could still hold his own). His favorite pastime these days is "walking the hills of San Francisco and people watching." He says, "You never know who you'll meet and carry a conversation with. People in this city are friendly."

Of why he volunteers,
Artell says, "I noticed they're short-handed around here sometimes. It's just something I like to do; keep my mind occupied. It helps me too."

Thank you Artell! We appreciate your hard work, consistency, and easy-going attitude!