When we learned that the Menkiti Group relocated to their new headquarters, a lot of folks were curious about what what would occupy their old offices at 2600 12th Street NE. We caught up with the new tenants, the administrative offices of the Central Union Mission’s and their Executive Director, David Treadwell, and asked a few questions. Founded in 1884, the Central Union Mission is the oldest social service organization in DC and we are happy to call them neighbors. We hope everyone gets a chance to welcome them to our community.
Why did you select your new location here in Brookland?
For nearly three decades the administrative offices and emergency shelter program of Central Union Mission were housed under one roof at 1350 R Street (Corner 14th & R), NE. The need for our services had outgrown our capacity to serve and shelter poor and homeless people. In addition to the physical limitations of our former building, neighborhood revitalization efforts in the 14th Street corridor over the last 10 years have forced poor and needy neighbors to other areas of the city. Following a long and challenging effort to build a well located, state-of-the art residential facility for our men’s work, we were able to lease the Gales School at 65 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Currently a major renovation of the 132-year-old school is underway. In order to use all available space possible at Gales for services and ministry, it was decided to locate the Mission’s administration in a separate location.
We needed a location for our administrative offices that was readily accessible by Metro and the interstate. We also wanted space in close proximity to other Mission facilities that would allow staff to travel to and from Mission sites with relative ease. Our 12th Street location in Brookland met our needs perfectly. Our new location provides an attractive office environment for staff and a welcoming atmosphere for current and potential supporters of Central Union Mission.
Tell us a little bit about your organization and mission
Central Union Mission is the oldest social service organization in the District of Columbia. The faith-based organization was founded in 1884 by churches filled with compassion to care for and serve thousands of homeless men who wandered Pennsylvania Avenue, many of whom were Civil War veterans. Central Union Mission exists to demonstrate God’s love and compassion to those often overlooked by society. In addition to our emergency men’s shelter, we offer:
- Food, Clothing, & Furniture to people experiencing financial hardships. Our Food PLUS Center, located at 3182 Bladensburg Road, NE, provides these items free of charge to people in need. Center hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm. We welcome the donation of goods from residents and businesses on Fridays. Please call 202-529-0165 for more information.
- A Residential Rehabilitation Program for men. This intensive 18-month program is designed for men with life-controlling problems. Participants receive counseling, education classes, and job skills training. The focus is on renewing hope, developing faith, and returning once broken men to productive lives.
- Community Outreach. Families and individuals rely on the Mission’s food assistance program not only in emergencies but also as a steady source for healthy meals. Partnerships with individuals, organizations, businesses, and churches assist the Mission in securing food, clothing, toiletries and household items for redistribution through our Food PLUS Center. The Mission also serves children through a number of programs including holiday activities and a school readiness program that offers free backpacks filled with school supplies. A Christmas program ensures that families experiencing financial hardships can give gifts of toys and clothes to their children.
- Camp Bennett. Nestled on 220 acres in Montgomery County, Maryland, Camp Bennett serves as an idyllic retreat for troubled men seeking to reclaim their lives. The Mission’s Residential Rehabilitation program includes a six-month stay at camp to assist participants in breaking old habits and developing new skills and a new mindset. During the summer months, Camp Bennett is transformed into a week-long residential camp for inner city youth. More than 400 young campers enjoy swimming, arts and crafts, sports, and exercises on leadership and teambuilding. When not in use for Mission programs and events, Camp Bennett is regularly used by youth sports teams. It is an ideal location for corporate retreats, family reunions, and weddings. Find out how you can book your upcoming event by calling 202-437-5643.
What kind of work will you be doing at your Brookland Offices?
The administrative offices of Central Union Mission are located at 2600 12th St., NE. This space houses our executive offices and staff that manage human resources, finance and accounting, communications and donor relations, and community outreach programs.
What are some of the challenges you face in serving the people of DC?
One of the biggest challenges facing Central Union Mission is meeting the needs of poor and homeless people. On any given day there are more than 6,000 homeless persons in the District of Columbia. In 2011, it was estimated that 30.2 percent of D.C.’s population lived in poverty, with 18.2 percent living below the poverty level.Though the economy is touted as improving, budget cuts have resulted in the reduction of food and housing assistance available to single mothers and their children. And a significant number of residents (8.5 percent) were still faced with unemployment as recent as December 2012.These factors have caused a significant rise in the number of people coming to Central Union Mission for help.
During FY 2012, Central Union Mission provided:
- 179,597 meals to men, women, children, and families struggling with food insecurity
- 52,323 nights of clean bedding and safe shelter for homeless men and men seeking recovery from life-controlling issues
- 831 individuals with medical and legal assistance
Because of the generosity of individuals and organizations, Central Union Mission received and redistributed more than $5 million worth of donated food, clothing, furniture and household items to individuals and families in need. And the need continues to grow.
With our recent transition to the Brookland Community, visitors to our Food PLUS Center, NE, have increased more than 50 percent. We average approximately 250 guests per week at the Center, located at 3182 B Bladensburg Road, NE. As soon as we receive donations, items are quickly redistributed. Our biggest challenges are keeping up with the need and continuing to forge meaningful partnerships that will help stem the tide of poverty and the resulting social ills in the District. We welcome community involvement in our efforts. Please visit our website to learn how you can make a positive difference.
How can those interested in the work you do get involved?
The work of Central Union Mission is possible because of the generosity of people and organizations that are compassionate toward those less fortunate. In addition to financial support, we need the time and talents of volunteers to assist in helping people transform their lives. You can learn more about Central Union Mission and discover ways to get involved with our life-changing efforts by visiting our website or calling 202-745-7118.