Every day this San Francisco Church provides the homeless with blankets and 'sacred sleep' in its pews
via The Gubbio Project

Recent estimates show that there are around 550,00 people who are unhoused on any given night in America. A large percentage of those who find their way to shelters are helped by faith-based organizations.

Forty-one percent of the emergency shelter beds for adults and around 16% of those for families are provided by such groups.

For the past 15 years, the St. Boniface Catholic Church in San Francisco, California has taken The Bible's teachings to heart by alllowing the unhoused sleep in its pews as part of an outreach program called the Gubbio Project.


Every day around 225 unhoused people arrive at St. Boniface to get some much needed rest after a hard night on the streets. Many people experiencing homelessness go to sleep at sun up because it's safer for them to be awake during the night.

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Sleeping in public during the night leaves people vulnerable to being attacked or robbed. It's also easier for people without a home to keep warm at night when they are awake.

The church also provides important services for those expericing homeless by handing out about 150 blankets a month, 100 pairs of socks a week, and hygiene kits with soap, shampoo, razors, and toothbrushes on a daily basis.

There are few areas in the United States where the wealth gap is more prominent than in San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area.

"In one of the richest cities in the world, one that 75 billionaires call home, the fact that so many must go without heat, shelter or blankets is confounding," Shannon Eizenga, the nonprofit's new executive director, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The scale of the need is staggering. We are living in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. It does feel as though it's 'A Tale of Two Cities,' and this gap is increasing more every day," she continued.

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The project relies on donations to keep its mission going and the church is currently struggling to fix a broken heating system.

"It's super cold in there, and we're in the coldest time of year," Eizenga said.

The project is run on a list of ten overriding principles, the most important being: "All people, especially those who are living on the streets or have mental health or substance abuse issues, are worthy of respect, dignity, and loving kindness."

via Gubbio Project / Facebook

The Rev. David Erickson of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, a volunteer with the project, belives the work Gubbio does perfectly aligns with his personal spiritual mission.

"We either get disgusted or numb," he said. "But this is a place where I experience grace deeply. The ability to look somebody in the eye and said, 'Can I help you, sir?' I had a gentleman say, 'You called me sir! I haven't been called sir in years!'"

"What they do here isn't going to solve the problem," he continued. "But it's going to do something for the problem right now."

You can donate to the Gubbio Project on its website.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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