More than 100 homeless men who reside at the 13th Regiment Armory in Brooklyn were treated to a VIP brunch on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 11 am to 2 pm at the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church.
Broadway, TV and film actress Eden Duncan-Smith organized the event after learning about the high incidences of homelessness in Brooklyn. She hosted a Family Volunteer Day and ensured that each man, though homeless, was referred to as a VIP Guest.
While most New Yorkers prepared their menus and decorated their dining rooms for Thanksgiving celebrations, many families in Brooklyn struggled to stay warm and simply find shelter.
Homelessness is an epidemic in Brooklyn, resulting in 36 percent of all families eligible for shelter services coming from the borough. In fact, according to the New York City statistics on homelessness, Brooklyn has three of the 10 communities citywide that experience the highest incidences of family homelessness: Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Brownsville.
Family Volunteer Day is a day of service which celebrates the power of families who work together to support their communities and neighborhoods. Supported by a grant from Disney and GenerationOn, the youth arm of the Points of Light organization, Duncan-Smith enlisted her neighbors, members of the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and local community leaders such as Assembly woman Tremaine Wright to come out and help those less fortunate.
“By working with GenerationOn in developing this Family Volunteer Day Brunch, I’m more certain than ever that volunteering is a great way for families to come together, develop compassion for those in need and set an example of service that will last way longer than the meal,” said Duncan-Smith.
They were treated to the culinary expertise of community leader and educator, Chef Titus Mitchell. Chef Titus’s menu included the following: Roasted turkeys, beef pot roasts, hams, collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese, rice and peas, cornbread stuffing, salad, candied yams and a variety of cakes and deserts.
He also insisted that the meal be served in a sit down banquet style. This allowed for Duncan-Smith and her community supporters to have one-on-one fellowship with the attendees. By donating his service and taking the lead in developing the culinary experience, he hopes to further inspire the community to participate in Eden’s day of service.