Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good Stuff in TEC: New Mexico

St. Martin’s seeks people to experience homelessness

St. Martin’s Hospitality Center is using an interesting method to raise funds in these tough economic times, and to put donors in touch with its mission.

The center is seeking 12 people who want to experience what homelessness is like for themselves by offering a “Street Retreat.” It’s a practice that has been widespread among some nonprofits since the early 1990s, said Tracy Alexis, development director of St. Martin’s, which is one of the largest providers of services for the homeless in New Mexico. It was founded by volunteers from local Episcopal churches.

The “Street Retreat” experience lasts for three days and two nights, Jan. 28-30. Participants eat in soup kitchens and sleep outdoors, although the group will stay together for safety, Alexis said. The idea is not to take up shelter beds that are already scarce in the city, she added.

St. Martin’s asks each participant to gather 12 sponsors. Each sponsor pledges to support the participant for the three days with a $100 per-day-commitment.


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