DTM Joins SOME to Celebrate 35 Years of Feeding the Homeless in Washington, D.C.

Carnegie Volunteers serving breakfast to 400 people in SOME's Dining Room for the Homeless.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 

On Sunday, 6 October 2013, So Others Might Eat (SOME) held its 35th anniversary celebration at the Copley Formal Lounge at Georgetown University where the Georgetown University Gospel Choir and the Georgetown A Cappella Group, The GraceNotes, both paid tribute to SOME’s work. DTM’s Director, Lindy Elkins-Tanton, her husband James, and Daniela Power, were among the honored guests that night.

Started by former DTM Postdoctoral Fellow Jo Ann Eder in 1991, the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) has been a supporter of SOME, an interfaith, community-based, nonprofit organization that offers a comprehensive, holistic approach to caring for the homeless and extremely poor citizens in Washington, D.C.

One out of five D.C. residents lives at or below poverty level [1], which has led to nearly 16% of D.C. households to suffer from hunger, 169,000 of whom are children [2]. An inability to afford food and a lack of access to adequate nutritious choices can lead to obesity, malnutrition, and other health problems as well as social issues like violence, low school performance, and teen parenthood.  SOME is working to change these statistics.

In 2012, SOME provided 421,799 hot, nutritious meals to men, women and children, gave 22,225 people showers and free clothing, provided 13,118 people with medical and dental care visits, and held intensive job training sessions for 163 homeless and low-income men and women.

As a part of this commitment, CIW serves breakfast to 400 people in SOME’s Dining Room for the Homeless on the first Wednesday of every month. Since her first year at Carnegie in 1992, Library Technical Assistant, Merri Wolf, has been actively involved in the program. Over the years, Merri’s two favorite things about SOME are, “that it’s a stellar example of team work accomplishing what no individual can do on her own, and that it feeds people.”

How does SOME accomplish its mission so well? Merri says, “The SOME kitchen facilitates social giving perfectly. We arrive, bring in our supplies, don our hairnets and aprons, wash our hands and plug ourselves into their system to do our thing for a little less than two hours, once a month.  Astonishing that a handful of people can prepare breakfast for 400 in such a short time—with the help, of course, of the SOME staff and our colleagues who did the requisite shopping or baked muffins and cut hams the day before.  And before that, people contributed money for the supplies.  And before that, people earned their living at Carnegie and donated a portion of their earnings to help others.” For Merri, there isn’t a particular story about SOME that is memorable, “only some of the people there and all of the people here who have shared this experience with her.”

Since starting her job as Seminar Coordinator at DTM, Casey Leffue has already volunteered twice at SOME. During both times, she has seen how, “SOME allows all kinds of people to come together as equals in order to improve the lives of those who are often cast aside or forgotten. No one goes away hungry!”

35 years ago, dozens of churches, synagogues, clubs, schools, and businesses answered SOME’s call for help to feed the poor and homeless in DC. In the years since, SOME has not only served a hot meal to those who need it most, they have helped thousands of people break the cycle of homelessness by giving them the tools and encouragement they need to transform their lives and live independently. Carnegie is proud to be a part of their effort and looks forward to working with them for years to come.

To learn more about S.O.M.E. and support them in their efforts, click here.


1. Poverty in Washington, D.C., S.O.M.E.

2. Hunger & Nutrition in Washington, D.C., S.O.M.E.