Hospitality is the art of being welcoming. In a divided world – a world filled with marginalized peoples – hospitality is the thread that will mend our social fabric.
Bread & Roses is, first and foremost, an intentional community. Our commitment to social justice is realized in the daily hospitality that we offer to the homeless – a warm, comfortable, and nurturing home in which to heal from the traumas of street life.
Like St. Therese of Lisieux, we believe that little things make a big difference, and we do not underestimate the value of a friendly smile and a well kept home. We share breakfast with our guests every weekday morning, as well as a weekly Saturday night dinner and celebration. And our home is never closed to the guests – there is always hot coffee in the pot and fresh fruit on the table.
By welcoming the homeless as guests in our home, we elevate their social role. A guest is an honored person in one’s home; it is customary to put a great deal of effort into cleaning, cooking, and making general preparations for house guests. This is the same effort and care that we will offer for every guest in our home – only the best of what we have will be offered. By offering an honored role to the homeless, we contribute to the healing and growth necessary for regaining stability.
A Prophetic Voice
Bread & Roses has long been an active reminder of the needs of the poor. As a community sharing our home with the homeless, our lives are tightly linked with those we serve. And we give voice to our witness.
As a long-time advocate for the poor, Bread & Roses has played an instrumental role in some of Olympia’s greatest victories. Camp Quixote (our local tent city) was organized out of the former Bread & Roses Advocacy Center. The Drexel House was envisioned through a partnership between Catholic Community Services, Bread & Roses, Thurston County, and the Housing Authority – and was built on the site of Bread & Roses’ former men’s shelter. Bread & Roses was active in the community process for developing Thurston County’s Ten Year Homeless Housing Plan, and has led successful campaigns to prevent passage of laws criminalizing homelessness.
From civil rights to community planning, and from volunteerism to community organizing, Bread & Roses has reminded us all of our obligations to our neighbors in need.
As the economy decays, as homelessness grows, and as social services disappear, the need for a strong voice of conscience is more important than ever. We will work together with local churches and temples, civic organizations, social service organizations, and the homeless community to build a vibrant movement for social justice.