I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. As I enjoyed family and delicious food, I thought about those less fortunate than I. When I was little, I thought that homeless people only existed in big cities and that they lived under bridges or on park benches. As I grew older, I learned that the homeless are all around, in our schools, in our churches and on our streets. “Homeless” doesn’t discriminate against age, gender, geographic region or culture.
In my own small town, which I love dearly, there are many homeless individuals walking around in despair. None should be faulted for the situation they are in. Could some of them have made better decisions? Absolutely. Could some of them stop finding solace in drugs and alcohol? Absolutely. Could some of them quit committing crimes? Absolutely. But poverty is a cycle with a convoluted mix of risk factors and causes, so it’s simply too complicated to blame them for their homelessness.
Further, many of the folks who are homeless are the ‘working poor’. These individuals work full-time but because of extremely low wages, they can’t get ahead. They can’t make enough money to pay utility deposits or rent on a place to live. In fact, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “In no state can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom rental unit at Fair Market Rent.”
You may remember several months ago when Ty Pennington and the crew from Guaranteed Rate came to our town to flip on an old prison into a homeless shelter/soup kitchen/halfway house called The Haywood Pathways Center. It was an exciting day with famous faces, politicians, business owners and thousands of volunteers flooding the site.
Now that the hoopla has ended, the Haywood Pathways Center still needs more funding to become the campus and resource it has always intended to be. I was asked to work on a crowd funding project aimed to raise additional funds for this amazing organization.
The name of the project is #FeedTheNeed because we’re asking people to give money that will literally help feed people but will also help give individuals spiritual and educational nourishment to help them get back on their feet and find a new path.
I’m helping spread the word through newspaper articles, blog posts, word of mouth and social media. It’s a wonderful campaign to work on because the goal is so unified and altruistic.
The Haywood Pathways board welcomes donations of any size. It only costs $3.79 to feed a person three meals a day. A pillow costs $5, a blanket costs $20 and a mattress costs $125, so donations of any size are greatly appreciated.
Please check out our crowd funding project. Your contributions are tax deductible, so donating before the end of 2014 would be a perfect time to give. If you’re considering a charity help during the holidays, please consider assisting The Haywood Pathways Center.
“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll
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