Fridays were good for the Liberty Regional Homeless Shelter. They’re betting Saturdays will be better.
The LRHC’s annual Good Friday walk to raise money for a shelter was the organization’s biggest fundraiser, generating thousands of dollars in donations to help the group help the homeless during the past six years.
That fundraiser could be even bigger in 2018, now that the LRHC is moving the walk to Saturday.
“I’ve had so many people tell me that they would participate if only it wasn’t on a Friday,” said the Rev. Jim McIntosh, LRHC president. “I decided to call their bluff.”
And with that, welcome to the 7th Annual Easter Walk for Shelter, which is set for March 31 in Hinesville.
The Courier is a sponsor of the effort to help support the Liberty Regional Homeless Coalition’s food and shelter programs.
The move to Saturday isn’t the only change for McIntosh’s group, which he assumed the presidency of in 2016. For starters, the LRHC, formerly the Liberty County Homeless Coalition, changed its name in 2017 to reflect efforts to help the homeless in Long and McIntosh counties as well.
It changed its way of doing business, going from a board-based coalition to a “membership organization,” with a small board in which members are elected on a rotating basis. There was an increase in members — from 15 to 119 — and in volunteers from the
area, including Fort Stewart, according to an annual report prepared in February by McIntosh.
The LRHC also received nonprofit status, which paid off with three donations last year worth $13,000.
Those donations, and others, helped the LRHC fund 169 requests for help in 2017. Financial support also enabled the coalition to contract with groups such as the Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority and Concerted Services to help with case management services, and LRHC supports both the Liberty County Manna House and Hinesville’s Homeless Prevention Program, McIntosh said in his report.
“Along with the monetary support, we continue to receive in-kind donations, that makes it possible to provide clothing and emergency food,” he said. “This area of growth has been so overwhelming, that we were able to provide more than $21,000 worth of material for emergency relief to Puerto Rico after Huricane Maria.”
There’s more. McIntosh notes more than $10,000 worth of school clothing donated to homeless students, which at the end of the 2017 school year included 210 homeless students enrolled in Liberty County School System and 20 in Long County Schools.
The LHRC continues to provide clothing to four clothing closets in the area. It held a sock drive hoping to get 1,000 pairs of socks.
“To our surprise, we ended up with more than 3,500 pairs,” McIntosh reported. “At Christmas, we handed out 1,000 pairs, and we continue to distribute more.”
McIntosh also pointed to the LRHC’s support for veterans who need help.
“We have continued to expand support to our local VA clinic and the veterans they provide homeless services to,” he wrote. “And in some cases just to veterans in need. I was so proud of our community when we had to send out a call for help for a newborn in need. The response was so overwhelming, that baby Andrew will probably outgrow everything before he gets to use it.”
Donations came from as far away as Brunswick, Jesup and Statesboro, McIntosh said, adding that the LRHC will continue to “expand into this area of service as opportunities allow us.”
He also said the LRHC will continue to help Fort Stewart.
“As part of our community, Fort Stewart has helped us when asked, and we will continue to answer their call whenever possible.”
McIntosh, who said it was an honor to have the opportunity to serve, thanked dozens of individuals, businesses and organizations, but “in all honesty, it would take a book to say thank you to everyone.”
More on the Easter Walk to come in future issues of the Courier.