With the Thanksgiving holidays approaching and the cold weather quickly overtaking the area, many groups and organizations are reaching out to help the homeless in their time of need.
Chester County Community Development led the second annual Walk for Homelessness on Nov. 20.
Representatives from different agencies dealing with hunger and homelessness created a task force to assist in organizing the walk, which actually happened at two different times during the day.
“We got six groups to walk together in solidarity at noon,” said Joan Holliday, a member of the task force. “And at 4 o’clock, we had another walk.”
Roughly 30 people came out for the lunchtime walk and 40 participated in the evening.
Many of the participants were employees of the various agencies.
“We’d always like to have more,” Holliday said. “I would love to see more of the broader community come walk with us and bring awareness to it.”
Melanie Weiler, executive director of the Food Cupboard, gave a speech at the walk and referenced the constant need for food, especially around this time of the year.
“Last month, they had 500 families go through the Food Cupboard,” Holliday said.
To help combat this, it was asked that participants either donate food for the Food Cupboard or donate money.
“In Kennett, the Kennett Food Truck was right there and people brought food right to the truck,” Holliday said. “It also showed up in the afternoon. Other people just brought it directly to either the Chester County Food Bank or to their respective food bank center.
“The generosity by everyone in the county is so helpful.”
To help spread the word about the walk, The Garage youth center created posters about hunger and homelessness and spread them around Chester County.
Both the Kennett and West Grove centers also participated in the later walk.
The county has been working with a new idea to help this in need by rounding together all the agencies.
“We have a new strategy in the county where we’re not just trying to deal with individual agencies, but actually centralize everything so that more people get help and more people work together,” Holliday said. “The country has developed an integrated, centralized program and it’s called ConnectPoints.
“Anyone that is hungry or homeless can call and there are case managers that will refer them to places that they can get help. The whole process is to case manager them so that if they are at risk of being homeless then we can help prevent the homelessness, too.”
ConnectPoints has told Holliday they are receiving at least 50 phone calls a day from those in need around Chester County.
This alarming rate increases the importance of what agencies around the area are trying to do with events like the Walk for Homelessness and raising awareness in the community.
“Even though we’re a wealthy company, we are the poorest when it comes to the vulnerable community.”
If you are at risk of becoming homeless, please call ConnectPoints at 1-800-935-3181 or you can find them on the web at www.connectpoints.org.