[Hpn] Do Not Limit Help To Only Holidays For Homeless

William CharlesTinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 11 Jan 2005 06:23:52 -0500


www.fredericksburg.com/

Please, don't limit help for the homeless to the holidays

Date published: 1/11/2005

Weariness, sorrow, and compassion are some of the words that come to mind
when I think of the homeless. Yet there are also whispers of hope,
determination, and gratitude.
During a single year, as many as 2 million people in the United States are
homeless, and the numbers continue to rise. These Americans are able to find
help in the many homeless shelters established in countless cities that
benefit from charitable donations from individuals, businesses, and
nonprofit organizations. The Thurman Brisben Center in Fredericksburg is no
exception.
During holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, donations increase
rapidly. Canned-food drives and prepared dinners are just two of the many
ways our generous community can help the homeless.
However, the homeless need help year-round, not just during the holidays.
The fluctuation of the times in which donations are made can create a
difficult situation for those who are both working and seeking help in the
homeless shelter. Statistics from Catholic Charities USA show that at least
87 percent of the businesses and individuals who make charitable donations
to homeless shelters plan to increase their donations over the holidays.
While their generosity is deeply appreciated, shelters need this kind of
attention year-round.
I am writing in hopes that our community will address the issue, so that the
homeless shelter can benefit from our generosity all year. Churches and
organizations could hold canned-food drives in the summer, as well as
prepare meals at least once a month.
There are those who might feel this would take away from the spirit of the
holidays, but helping out those in need should not be confined to times when
we feel the most cheerful, but extended to when help is needed.
Homelessness is a daily problem; it's not limited to one particular time of
year. Spreading donations out throughout the year would not only let the
shelter know they have the full support of the community, but would also
help those who look to us for help.

Amanda Gage
Fredericksburg
Amanda Gage is a ninth-grade student at Fredericksburg Academy.

Fredericksburg.com, 605 William Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Copyright 2004, The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. of Fredericksburg, Va.