Monday, August 23, 2010

Thoughts on Homelessness in Knoxville and One Way to Help

This Saturday, August 28th at 7pm, there is a wine tasting fundraiser at S&W Grand to benefit Redeeming Hope Ministries. I asked Eddie Young, head of this organization, to tell us a little more about the event, the work he does, and his thoughts on homelessness in Knoxville.

What is the money raised from the event Raise Your Glass going toward?

EY: 100% of the funds raised will go towards our efforts in bringing wholeness and wellness to the lives of the radically underprivileged and homeless of urban Knoxville. Redeeming Hope Ministry currently focuses on four aspects of holistic initiative: food justice, aesthetics, our upcoming Street Paper, and mentoring our friends in social service areas and ultimately into housing.

What will happen at the event on Saturday?

EY: The idea is for everyone to bring two bottles (of wine), one for our tasting and one for the winner's table. They can be very cheap bottles. Guests will judge the disguised bottles on a scale of 1 to 5, and the 3 winners will divide the wine on the winner's table. Winners may take home anywhere from 15 to 30 bottles of wine.

There will also be a silent auction featuring artwork from local artists.

How long have you been working in this field?

EY: My family and I moved to Knoxville just over 3 years ago. I began this particular 'ministry' about a year after our arrival. I've had, for over 15 years, a driving passion for the poor, oppressed and homeless of the communities in which we previously lived, but this is the most intensive run I've made at organizing something this comprehensive.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

EY: You might think the 'success stories' are what rewards us the most, but I have to say that the friendships are the most rewarding. Everything we do is based on building genuine relationships. No one is our client, or the object of our ministry - they are our friends. And I love that.

Move in day: Eddie and RHM helped Arthur (right) move into an apartment.

If people can't go to the event Raise Your Glass, in what other ways can they help?

EY: Well, if you can't make the fund-raiser, I'd love for you to visit our website, and see how best you can plug in. Everyone has something to offer, and if you're having trouble figuring yours out, let us help!

On a different but related subject, would you like to share any of your thoughts on the 10 year plan?

EY: Lots of thoughts on the 10 year plan! I'll say this, I'm a total supporter of the plan. Are there better ways? I don't know, and I don't think anyone else has come forward with one. I think there are a lot of misunderstandings about the 10 year plan. One of those is that it's goal is to end homelessness, but actually it's plan is to rescue the most vulnerable and helpless of the homeless. If we understand this, and don't move to do something about it, we cannot think of ourselves as a very compassionate community.

Any other thoughts you'd like me to include?

EY: I would love for we as a community to make an effort to understand the plight of the homeless rather than operate on the automatic assumptions and stereotypes that we carry around. Everyone has a story. Everyone is, at least to some extent, shaped by forces not always under our control. There's only one game on the table... some get to start out with money, properties, houses and hotels, some others of us start with nothing and can't ever seem to get around the board to collect $200. It's really not all that difficult to see why some just give up trying. I can't count the number of times I've walked away from Monopoly.

You can contact Eddie for more information or to purchase tickets to Raise Your Glass: 865-237-8166 or email


Lo said...

i love eddie and what he is doing to serve the privileged and unprivileged in knoxville! through him i've gotten to interact with knoxville's street population in a really personal way. he believes that deep connections can be created among people through food and friendship and art, and is showing us how the best food we have in knoxville (local, organic) should be available to all.

the metro pulse had a good interview with eddie about his work with RHM.

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