Taking place the week before Thanksgiving, National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week serves as a time to reflect on what we are grateful for and how we can come together to shed light on a pair of issues affecting millions of Americans today.
A basic definition of homeless is someone who is lacking a permanent, safe place to live. Oftentimes the difference between being housed and being homeless is the support network that is available. Causes of homelessness are varied but can include poverty, domestic violence, mental health issues, catastrophic illness, unemployment, substance abuse, divorce, natural disasters, returning to civilian life after military service, and a lack of affordable housing.
We Must End Homelessness
Preventing and ending homelessness and hunger is essential to the stability of families, the growth and vitality of businesses, and the Greenville community as a whole. When a single mother of three gets evicted from her apartment, the adult homeless population rises by one while the youth homeless population rises by three. Many organizations and faith-based entities in our community are committed to sheltering and providing supportive services as well as meals and food supplies to those in need, striving to ensure that the steps they are taking to end homelessness and hunger are done efficiently and effectively by working collaboratively to avoid duplication of services.
For more than 30 years, Community Crossroads Center (formerly Greenville Community Shelter) has provided a safe haven for those in our community who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of being homeless. The Center not only houses and feeds our communities’ homeless, but they also provide case management, employment training provided by Pitt Community College and free medical care provided by the Brody School of Medicine. The community support with over 40 churches providing meals, volunteers holding bible study on site, volunteering with our free clothing closet that is open to anyone, overseeing our respite room and the multitude of others that volunteer both in-kind and monetarily is overwhelming.
What We Ask From You for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
During this week, we ask that you ask yourselves if you are doing all that you can to help those that are less fortunate. Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast this year. But let me encourage you to pause between the courses to whisper a prayer of thanks to the giver of all good things, followed soon thereafter by a prayerful plea for guidance regarding how you might be used to help someone who is on the streets this year celebrate next Thanksgiving in a home of their own.
Community Crossroads Center is a non-profit agency governed by the Board of Directors.