A few weeks ago, I talked about our Community Kitchen program and the immense amount of people we serve every year. With so many people coming into one place, it’s a great location for other service providers to connect with our guests. The first thing that I worked on when I started at Damiano was growing the opportunities for outreach for other organizations that could serve Damiano guests. To do this, we scheduled organizations to have their staff sit at a table in the Community Kitchen area, where guests can walk up and talk with them about their services. There were a handful that came in regularly when I started. I began my work by reaching out to new organizations that would benefit from talking to the guests that come in; so many have great outreach efforts.
It’s a simple service, but the amount of people that learn about new organizations or services that could help them is huge. Many of the services that are offered are: help with drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, legal issues and health. I was surprised by the amount of people that had never heard of some of the organizations that come in. It reinforces just how important it is to keep bringing in as many participants as we can. Some of the organizations that table at the Damiano Center are:
Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
St. Louis County Public Health
Occasionally, we will have special groups come in. As part of our Community Connect event, nursing students from St. Scholastica gave out flu shots for free to anybody who wanted one. Later in November, a group of dental students called the Damiano Center to inquire about doing a dental hygiene education event. They talked to over 150 guests and gave away toothbrushes and toothpaste to everyone! It was absolutely wonderful to have them, and they plan on coming back in the future.
We’re always looking for more organizations to come table at the Damiano Center. To make it easier, I created a website that allows anyone to sign up for times to come in and table during lunch. If you’re part of an organization that would benefit from connecting with guests, you can email me or sign up on our new website!