With the holidays just around the corner, spirits are high, temperatures are cold, and the ripple effect of giving and caring are beginning to make their way across the country. What is, to many people, a time of joy, however, is just a time of winter survival and forgotten hopes for the homeless.
This week is “National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” and Bloomsburg University, along with many others, is doing what they can to help give the less fortunate something to look forward to during the holidays. The week started off with Spectrum Magazine’s campus-wide clothing drive. In each of the residence hall lobbies, a green donation box was placed for those who wish to help someone in need this winter. The donations will be gathered up and distributed to local area shelters. The high demand items right now are winter jackets, gloves, and hats, but toiletries, socks, boots, and blankets are always greatly appreciated.
On Wednesday at Carver Hall, Bloomsburg University’s Student Alliance Against Homelessness teamed up with professors and shelter directors to hold a lecture on ways to help aid the shelters, and to motivate more people to get involved. The BU Student Alliance Against Homelessness will also be sponsoring a Thanksgiving meal at the Wesley United Methodist Church from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 22.
“Right now, it’s important to help out in any way you can. With the economy the way it is, the numbers (of homeless people) are surely going up and our funding is going down,” said Professor Gary F. Clark. “Many shelters are at risk of getting shut down. Right over in Berwick the shelter is having financial difficulties. No one person can fix this problem, but if we all work together we can surely make a difference.”
So this year, instead of throwing away an old blanket, or an old jacket that doesn’t fit anymore, donate them to a local homeless shelter.
Another great donation would be all of the extra cans of food that do not get used up during Thanksgiving. It’s important that resources are put to good use heading into a spiraling economy that may send more people to the streets.
“We are the most wasteful country in the world, and we have a tendency to go about wasting our money in other countries that further hurts ourselves,” said Dr. James Mackin. “The USDA estimates 96 billion pounds of food are wasted each year.”
The homeless have a bad reputation for wasting anything given to them on drugs. One thing the speakers emphasized however is that “not all homeless people are mentally insane, drug addicts that live in cardboard boxes.”
Although they live in makeshift shelters, many are good people with incredible stories whose luck just turned against them.
So this year while out shopping, pick up a few extra cans of food to donate or a toy that could put a smile on a young kids face. “This problem facing the country will not go away, but it can improve if we all just do our part and turn this into a group effort.”