The video below shows a few who have come to the Daybreak homeless shelter in Joliet, Illinois, to cook, serve, and be with the shelter’s residents. For over 15 years I have coordinated volunteers—mainly from Friendship United Methodist Church—who come on the third Friday and Saturday of every month.
♦ Go here for THE YEAR’S SCHEDULE and feel free to join us.
In 1988, distinguished homeless advocate DIANE NILAN started a shelter that grew into today’s Daybreak. Today Diane is president and founder of HEAR US, a national advocacy group focused on bringing voice and visibility to homeless children, youth, and their mothers. We’ve worked with her for over 25 years, and my wife Linda Bonifas is on the Hear Us board of directors.
Please read about Diane Nilan and Hear Us, and learn more about America’s plague of homelessness, which has worsened because of structural inequalities of wealth, education, and opportunity. See links at the end of the Hear Us main page on this site to learn more about these inequalities. You can also learn about Chicago Family Directions—a project started in one of my classes—dedicated to tutoring and mentoring homeless and other disadvantaged youth. Emmanuel House—founded by my oldest son Rick and his wife Desiree as a living memorial to Rick’s youngest brother Bryan Emmanuel—also deals with housing issues and inequality. In 2016 it was named one of the “Top 100 Most Innovative” social change organizations in the world.
You can get involved in helping to end homelessness. In the richest country in the world, 1.5 million kids are homeless. The average age of a homeless American is under 10.
♦ Watch Rick Guzman, Dan’s oldest brother, talk about how he got into working to help the poor, how there are assets even in poor communities that can help lift them out of poverty, and how he was present when a call came from Nelson Mandela.
♦ Watch a video about Feed My Starving Children.