I take my life for granted all of the time. I take big things for granted like owning a car and having two healthy children, so I certainly take small things, like food and shelter, for granted. Not everyone even has these basic needs to function. How can I expect these individuals to rehabilitate drug and alcohol addictions when they can’t keep their heads above water enough to find the next meal. I would probably be drowning my sorrows as well.
I’ve written about my town before and how the entire community embraces change, hope, and altruism. I’ve written about our many hiking trails, farm-to-table restaurants, excellent schools, and locally-roasted coffee. I write a column in our newspaper about our wonderful families and the many things our young people are achieving. And I will continue to write about these things because I’m proud of them and they are part of me.
What I don’t write much about is the sadness that permeates a certain population of my small community. Despite our grandiose Blue Ridge mountains and all that my small town has to offer, hidden amongst the reusable shopping bags, tourists, and block parties, are homeless children, meth addicts, and condemned houses and trailers serving as ghastly “homes” for people.
Our new sheriff decided to make a change on this front. Sitting next to his office is our old minimum-security prison. A facility that’s not been used in some time. He had a vision that turned into a dream that will now become a reality for our most needy.
Our community entered the Ty Pennington Ultimate Neighborhood Give Back Challenge. And we won! Our project is to turn the old prison into a homeless shelter, halfway house, and soup kitchen. Currently, we only have one homeless shelter, but it’s on an emergency basis and only opens in the coldest months of the year. Our soup kitchen is extremely busy, but it’s very small and currently does not serve dinner. This new facility, called Haywood Pathways Center, will offer much more for those individuals needing a helping a hand.
We as a town are extraordinarily excited about this project and all that it means for our people. The local newspapers, churches, and other organizations have come together to promote and help raise money. The Give Back challenge has awarded us $50,000, but we need to raise more money to ensure everything we need is included in the renovation. Ty Pennington will be in our town on September 25. If you are local and would like to volunteer for this project or if you are just someone who would like to donate money to make sure the project has all that it needs, please click the link below.
It’s not often that a small town experiences such a major transformation as this one, one that will impact individuals at all levels for years and years to come. So many of us are looking forward to tearing down fences that have forced people to stay in and instead, welcoming them in with resources, love, and hope.