Shelter and Community Enhancement
PROVIDING FOR HOMELESS SHELTERS
Beats the Streets continues to provide blankets, cots, sleeping bags, towels, wash cloths, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, disinfectant spray, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, long underwear, coats, hand and foot warmers, reading glasses, books, bottled water, coffee, creamer, sugar and paper products, pre-cooked and frozen meals, instant hot drinks, ready-to-eat food with easy-opening lids, and garbage bags to shelters in need. Christmas toys, Seasonal items and treats, and Backpacks filled with back to school needs before school starts are also on our lists.
We provide paint and the equipment to give shelters a much needed "face Lift". This past year we provided all the paint for the Peachtree & Pine Homeless Shelter and helped them paint the art gallery, hallways, stairwells, offices and even the wall that surrounds the "Roof Top Garden".
At the Peachtree & Pine we spear-headed the construction of the "Roof Top Garden" by creating 90 raised vegetable and fruit beds where there had only been about 8 beds. The "Roof Top Garden" is not only the largest in the Southeast, but it is self-sustained. God literally laid it on our hearts to make the garden self-sustainable. He led us to Jay Parsons, a Master Beekeeper who provided a beehive and those girls are busy pollinating and making honey. Next came the "Rainwater Irrigation System" designed by our own Vice President and CEO of Rain Harvest Company, Paul Morgan. Many people pitched in as this was a big project to take on. Many thanks to Ronald Garrett, Paul Martino, Ken Dale Palmer and the men in Paul Morgan's small group and his crew too.
We are currently breaking ground on a "Vertical Garden" for the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter on Marietta Street. Vertical gardening is an approach used to grow vegetables up and down, rather than side to side like in a traditional horizontal garden. In a vertical garden, vegetables grow up, down and across structures due to limited space. With the vertical gardens, we will be able to create an area architectural interest and much need fresh vegetables and fruit. The plans include vegetable beds for the handicapped and the children too.
The project will be one that includes ourhomeless veterans that suffer from anxiety disorders, PTSD and other problems as a result of protecting you and me. They will help construct and paint the raised beds, install supports like trellises and wire cages directly into the raised beds. The surgeon general found that the physical activity will produce important psychological benefits. It relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety, improves mood, and enhances psychological well-being. Working together will help them get to know one another and give us an opportunity to share the love of Christ.
Recent research demonstrates that communities with lower incomes, higher poverty rates, and higher proportions of racial/ethnic minorities--those most at risk to be sedentary and overweight--also have the fewest community-level opportunities and resources related to physical activity. Public parks, green spaces, playgrounds, and community gardens are disproportionately fewer or completely unavailable in these communities.
Beats the Streets plans to expand its services to provide these "at-risk" communities with community gardens and safe playground. We started one on Lake Valley Drive for "Young Generation Movement", a nonprofit organization helping "at-risk" children. Showing up with a truck load of equipment and a plan of action had all the neighborhood children running to help out. Off came the hoodies replaced by smiles on their faces that stretched from ear-to-ear. Neighbors kept the tools safe and helped tend and watch over the garden while the children were in school.
Exposure to nature in parks, gardens, and natural areas can improve psychological and social health. Horticultural therapy has evolved as a form of mental health treatment based on the therapeutic effects of gardening. Children who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) can concentrate on schoolwork better after taking part in activities in green settings. Residents in housing projects with views of trees or grass experience reduced mental fatigue and report that they are better able to cope with life’s problems.
“Where we live has such a powerful influence on our health.” Community gardens need to be constructed in low-income neighborhoods, on public land, at schools and churches. Gardens are a source of produce for local residents or can be donated to food pantries or soup kitchens for the homeless. We need to encourage an increase in local fruit and vegetable production.
Parks provide children with opportunities for play, and play is critical in the development of muscle strength and coordination, language, and cognitive abilities. Parks also build healthy communities by creating stable neighborhoods and strengthening community development. Research shows that residents of neighborhoods with greenery in common spaces enjoy stronger social ties. Neighborhoods with community gardens are more stable, losing fewer residents over time.
Parks increase “social capital.” That is, when people work together in a community garden or to create a park from a vacant lot, they get to know one another, trust one another, and look out for one another. The accomplishment of creating a new park helps people to believe that they can effect change. Gardens stabilize and improve their host neighborhoods, provide a focal point for community organizing and social networks, bring fresh produce to neighborhoods where fresh fruits and vegetable are often not available and provide recreation and exercise for neighborhood residents.
The US Surgeon General reports that “Americans can substantially improve their health and quality of life by including moderate amounts of physical activity in their daily lives,” the report found. It also found that “health benefits appear to be proportional to the amount of activity; thus, every increase in activity adds some benefit.”
Physical activity also produces important psychological benefits, the surgeon general found. It relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety, improves mood, and enhances psychological well-being.
For more information about our Shelter & Community Assistance please contact us at JHames@BeatsTheStreets.org or call 678-778-9596