The Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless has just kicked off its Stars for the Homeless campaign to raise money for Liberty County’s only homeless shelter.
Customers can buy gold stars for $1 each at K&K Thrift Shop, Hinesville Day Spa, Liberty Jewelers, Bee’s Creations, Badcock Home Furniture & more and GeoVista Credit Union. All proceeds benefit the center.
“Our need is great at KHC. And once again, the Hinesville business community is coming through like the stars they are to help us
continue to provide a safe place for homeless men and women in our area,” said Charli Shearer, program coordinator for the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless.
As chilling wind gusts pick up and temperatures plummet, more homeless seek shelter during this time of year, Shearer said. But between the two KHC houses — one for males, ones for females — there is only room for 14 residents.
Shearer said she knows there are many others who still need shelter or, at the very least, a blanket to keep warm. The need for aid is apparent to the program coordinator every day as she passes out hot soup and blankets to those she sees on the streets when it gets bitterly cold at night.
The KHC is a “live-in safe environment for homeless men and women in this area who need to start their lives over again,” according to the center’s website.
Residents are required to pay up to 30 percent of their income to the house — up to $200 a month for rent — and must pay an equal share of the electric and water bills. All residents also are required to work one shift a week at the K&K Thrift Store, Shearer said. Those who cannot afford the rent are asked to work additional shifts at the store, which benefits the KHC.
Residents must tackle chores and keep their areas clean as well.
The motivation for the campaign is simple: “We are in need of money,” the program coordinator said, and because the thrift store is still new, it’s barely surviving due to operational costs.
“Funds are so low we’ve had to disconnect phone service at one house and restrict the use of clothes dryers at both houses to keep the electric bills down. We’re delaying some urgently needed plumbing work at the men’s house and recently couldn’t even come up with the cash to help a new resident pay for a background check for a job application or another resident cover a small legal fee necessary to resolve a simple legal issue that is a barrier to employment,” Shearer said.
Liberty County Clinic of Chiropractics also is collecting cleaning supplies such as dish soap, paper towels, cleanser and fabric softener for the homes and will match any donation made, she said.
After collecting donations on the Kirk Healing Center’s behalf for more than a week, the Hinesville Day Spa has accepted about $50 for the campaign, owner/manager Sheela Eichhorn said.
“I think it is a wonderful start, but it is only a start,” Eichhorn said. “What is it about Christmas? I think what’s happening lately is that people are kind of giving a back lash to commercialism. And they are looking to do something more touching and human.
“People are reaching into their home and heart to help other people,” she said. “I think the more we can do that we are getting more in touch with the realness and humanness. We close our eyes to the homeless.”
Shearer also understands the challenges of being homeless and sympathizes with those who have fallen on hard times. She said the center is a place for those people to get back on track, but the process only works when funds are sufficient.