Volunteers sorting food
Martha's Table

Last month, Martha’s Table announced that some services at its longstanding 14th Street Northwest location would end and be transferred to a new complex in Hillsdale, not far from Anacostia in Southeast.

For 35 years, Martha’s has provided services for the poor. After the transfer, the only programs available at 14th Street would be food provision and a center for children. I think this decision should be carefully assessed because citizens need help and support for the poor and homeless in Northwest, too.

The federal government is here, as well as local government, private industry, and one of the country’s strongest tourist programs. Southeast needs services and should have them,  but they should not be provided at the expense of other areas that also need them. It might even be that Martha’s Table should have expanded its services at the present location.  I hope that by 2018, when these changes are to occur, any issues needing to be resolved will have been and the poor and the homeless around 14th Street will not feel even more disenfranchised.

The present program has an impressive record. It provides education, family support services, and a thrift store serving more than 18,000 people a year. Plans for the transfer to Hillsdale should be carefully reviewed.  I often see some of the people being helped sitting in the park area in front of the church. I have been to the longest day of the year service there, and the people seemed warm and hospitable. It should be noted that Charity Navigator, which rates more than 8,200, charities rated Martha’s Table with a 4 out of a possible 4.