JUDY CROCKETT: Homelessness, poverty awareness campaign a success

TO THE EDITOR:

Manistee County Human Services Collaborative Body (HSCB) recently completed a two week county-wide homelessness and poverty awareness campaign titled In Their Shoes with a goal of increasing public awareness and engagement around the issues of homelessness and poverty in our county.

Here is a look at how it went by the numbers:

• Just over 100 books were donated by customers at Townline Unlimited that were donated to the Great Start Readiness Program;

• Nearly 50 people attend the free showing of “The Soloist” at the Vogue Theatre;

• 24 gift bags of personal care items, bath towels and books were donated and distributed to students in area schools through the Staircase Youth Services program;

• 19 filled purse gift bags were donated to CHOICES of Manistee County;

• 23 families were served at the free laundry day and each family received a gift bag of personal care items;

• 16 Guests found overnight sanctuary and a warm meal at Safe Harbor;

• 67 people were served at the Thursday night Family Life Center;

• 55 people attended Lend a Hand at the Friendship Society;

• Warm soup was served to anyone who stopped into Wahr Hardware on Veterans Day;

• Several shopping cart loads of non-perishable foods were donated to local food pantries;

• We had an increase in volunteers and contacts for the ongoing meal and Safe Harbor programs;

• There were about 10 newspaper stories on these issues in the paper over the past two weeks;

• Blankets are still being collected for Safe Harbor; and

• Several events are on going.

Through In Their Shoes we have increased awareness and public engagement around poverty and homelessness. The numbers above reflect the kindness and generosity members of our community have toward their neighbors.

If you are compelled to do more, consider volunteering at any of our helping agencies. Together we can make a difference in the life of others.

A quote from Nelson Mandela: “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

Judy Crockett

Coordinator, Manistee County HSCB and In Their Shoes

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