The city of Hinesville recently observed its first Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, which consisted of prayers, mini-sermons, testimonials, special music and video presentations. The Liberty County Homeless Coalition and the Hinesville Homeless Prevention Program also conducted an unofficial homeless count Jan. 29-Feb. 4, during which participants counted 235 homeless people in Liberty County.
Homeless Prevention Program Coordinator Daisy Jones and Pastor Hermon Scott, president of the Liberty County Homeless Coalition, deserve recognition for their hard work in organizing the count. The various volunteers, local clergy, civic and community leaders, service organizations and concerned citizens also should be commended for their selfless dedication to helping others and supporting efforts to shed light on the persistent problem of homelessness in this area.
Around the holidays and during the winter months, it’s easy to preach and act on messages of charity and love. When organized events — such as the recent memorial day observance and unofficial count — are planned, it’s easy to put in an appearance and claim to care about the homeless. When canned-food and toy drives are under way, it’s not tough to contribute an item or two and feel good about donating. And while every little bit certainly does help, we would do well to remember that homelessness is a year-round problem.
As economic recovery stagnates, it’s important to understand that good, hard-working people are struggling to overcome financial hardships that might not necessarily be present under normal circumstances. Sure, everyone has problems, and some of them may be self-inflicted. However, it should come as no surprise that with unemployment at historically high rates, many people are just one pink slip away from the street.
We need to band together as a community and reach out. Give these people in need the benefit of the doubt that we would all hope to receive in similar circumstances.
There are ways to get involved. Staffers at the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless work tirelessly to improve the lives of those who have fallen on hard times. The Manna House food pantry provides nutritious food to families who otherwise would not be able to afford it. Countless churches, civic organizations and charities in the area — too many to name here — are dedicated to combating homelessness and need in Hinesville. Please join them.
For more information on how to make a difference, call Jones at 876-6573.