Tent Rocks National Monument

I’m on vacation with my family in New Mexico! It’s my first time being out West and I’m really enjoying it. Today I went to Tent Rocks National Monument, a really cool place with unique rock formation and canyons.

The trail had some really tight canyons that we could barely fit through.

Then we went up a 600-feet incline. It was really intense!

But the view from the top was worth it! It was amazing to see mountains, valleys, and canyons so different than the amazing mountains and valleys of North Carolina and West Virginia.

A Weekend Conference at NC State

Recently I went to NC State University for a conference called Ignited by Truth. I hadn’t been to their campus since I toured it when I was in high school, and thought that some of its buildings that had been built recently were very cool. I was told that the newest building was the Talley Student Union, pictured below.

After the conference there was a concert. The room was poorly lit so I wasn’t able to get any good images, but when I exited the building I looked up and took my camera back out.

I shouldn’t go without a photo of the conference. On stage here is Catholic theologian and apologist Scott Hahn.

An Evening Downtown

I went downtown in Winston-Salem on a Friday night to take photos. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but I was really pleased with my results. I hope the photos below take you back to the 1920s.

I saw this cool mural. I didn’t know what it was until I googled it later. The mural depicts a history of the Black press in America, with abolitionist Frederick Douglass as the central figure. The artist is Marianne DiNapoli-Mylet and the key quote says “Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentation.”

I was close to being done, walking back to the car when I saw these shining golden windows a couple blocks away. I knew I had to get closer. I had seen this building many times before but never at this time of day.

Last but not least is a photo of ARTivity on the Green, a park on Liberty Street. They have really interesting architectural features. Since line was the prevalent factor in this image, I decided to make it black and white.

Tuesdays at The Shalom Project

Founded in 2008, The Shalom Project is a nonprofit that works to help people in Winston-Salem, NC overcome poverty. Their key programs are a food pantry, clothing closet, dinners, and a free medical clinic. They are a nonprofit based out of Green Street United Methodist Church in the West Salem neighborhood. Thomas Cannady, one of their key volunteers, spoke to me about the organization. All quotes are his words.

Thomas Cannady.

On Tuesday mornings the church opens at 9 a.m. and people start flowing in for the food pantry and clothing closet. There are normally about 70 clients, but some weeks that number reaches 90. Visitors can come every thirty days to the food pantry; all they need is a form of identification (government IDs are not necessary). 

The Shalom Project purchases food for the pantry and also receives food from private donations and from the government TFAP program, which people must qualify for. They not only give canned foods to their clients but also provide fresh foods and meat. 

“I’m very pleased that we do give meat to the people on Tuesdays because meat is so expensive. We try to give them meat for at least two meals.”

The food that a person receives is enough for several days, so for those in need of more, “we also give out information about other food banks.”

“Food is free for whoever needs it. If they can come and sit down and wait in line an hour to get the food, we’ll get them food and we’ll try to give them referrals to other food banks [so] they can get food from them and not run out in a couple days.”

Another initiative The Shalom Project has to fight hunger in Winston-Salem is their Wednesday dinners. “We tell them, if they come on Tuesdays, come down Wednesday night and eat with us. That’s one meal longer you’ll have food on your table.”

Called The Welcome Table, a meal is cooked for anyone who wants to come from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday. Volunteers from Green Street United Methodist Church and other churches prepare and serve the meals to the hungry, which usually number between fifty and seventy.

The Shalom Project not only serves people from Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. They also support people who come from neighboring Davie, Surry, and Davidson counties. 

Their clothing closet is also open Tuesday mornings. When a person enters the church, they are in a waiting room as they are being processed, first-come, first-serve. After they check in with a volunteer, they go downstairs to the basement which houses the clothing closet.

The items in the clothing closet are organized by gender and age. Visitors can receive ten pieces of clothing including shoes, coats, ties, and undergarments, as well as shirts and pants. They can also pick out household and kitchen items and toys for the kids. “A lot of people really do come for the clothes. They come for the clothes but don’t always get what they want, but what we try to do is give them something.” 

All of the clothing distributed comes from private donations. 

“People will drive up and drop three large garbage bags full of clothes for us. I cleaned out my closet… I had stuff I hadn’t worn in five years, so I gave it to The Shalom Project.” 

Through observing the needs of the community, what Cannady would like to see most to improve lives in Winston-Salem is for churches to come together to address homelessness in the city. He sees a great need for transitional housing to help homeless people have a secure place to live so they can try to get a job. 

Last month he went out around the city with Samaritan’s Ministries between 11 a.m. and 4 a.m, to count homeless people in order to estimate their population. From what he saw that night he believes there are over 500 homeless people in Winston-Salem. 

“I wish every church around Winston, we’d all gather
together and say, ‘There’s this many homeless people. Let’s set up a plan to help them.’” 

You can learn more about The Shalom Project and find out how to contact them on their website.

Copyright © Fouad Abou-Rizk 2018. All Rights Reserved.
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