Saturday, May 9, 2009

Connecting with Goods and with People

Every year, around this time, Georgetown experiences its Exodus. No, it isn't the Exodus you read about in Bib Lit: it is the end of the semester, when everyone goes home in a mad rush. Too much stuff to store for the next few months? Too many random items you packed for freshman year turn out unused? Leaving your townhouse (and all the furniture in it)? All too often, these items will get tossed into trash cans and dumpsters; however, there is another way.

For the past few years, there have been different attempts at coordinating a move out drive, to collect some of these unwanted items and connect them with those that truly need them. The drive has evolved every year, and I hope this year's will continue on an uphill climb. Specifically, I wanted to spend this blog post discussing the KEYS for the Homeless Foundation, one of the charities with which we are working.

KEYS for the Homeless was founded by Valerie Johnson about ten years ago as a youth project at Holy Trinity and has seen amazing successes since. If you have ever worked at a hotel or stayed in a hotel, you would probably know that these places need to go through habitual periods of refurnishing. The towels, linens, and furniture items might still be in perfectly good condition; however, for the sake of upkeep, they will be rotated out. For many years, these items would have ended up in a dumpster; however, in this problem, Valerie saw a solution. KEYS for the Homeless works with a number of hospitality services (hotels et al.) to collect these items and connect them with homeless shelters throughout the DC area. The life cycle of these goods are being continued, and the lives of thousands of DC residents are being made better.

In the past three years, KEYS has redistributed over $400,000 in goods and works with organizations that serve over 40,000 people. I am very proud that KEYS will be an integral part of the move out drive this year. KEYS's commitment to social justice and fostering the good of the community (on so many levels) is what Georgetown is all about.

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