Before she was flooded out of her apartment in 2013; before her family and friends stopped letting her crash with them; before she spent winter nights crisscrossing the city, asleep on buses -- Sheila White had never heard of Miriam’s Kitchen, a Washington DC charity that feeds hungry people and helps them find homes. But there she found something that had been lacking in her life -- smiles. Miriam’s Kitchen, founded in 1983, serves breakfast and dinner every weekday, helps clients do the paperwork to receive housing benefits and other support, and offers classes and workshops. White became an advocacy fellow, working with the staff and testifying before the D.C. Council. She received help from other organizations, too, and for four years, lived in a women’s shelter. In May 2020, she found permanent supportive housing and is working on a degree in political science at the University of the District of Columbia.

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