Willa Smith: Can you help in ‘Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week’?
Have you ever experienced hunger? Do you know anyone who is or has been homeless? What do they look like? Do they look like you?
A year ago you might not have said you didn’t know anyone who is homeless, but with the multitude of recent wildfires in California, and hurricanes and floods in Texas and Florida, you now might know many people who have lost their homes and everything they own, except the clothes they were wearing when they fled from harm.
According to a 2016 article by Quentin Fottrell, personal finance editor of MarketWatch, most folks in the United States are, “theoretically only one paycheck away from the street.” He noted that “Approximately 63 percent of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair bill.”
Could this be you?
The reasons that people become homeless are varied. And just as the reasons for homelessness are varied, so are the solutions to ending it.
For some people who find themselves without a home to call their own, it might mean reducing spending, borrowing from family and friends, or using credit cards to help make ends meet.
For others, counseling for mental health and substance abuse, breaking the cycle of poverty and increasing the number of affordable housing in an area is needed.
In the greater Yuba and Sutter area, there are many dedicated organizations and individual citizens who are working hard to find the solutions to end homelessness in the region. 14Forward, Salvation Army, Casa de Esperanza, REST, and the Twin Cities Rescue Mission, provide temporary shelter to individuals and families.
Hands of Hope, Bridges to Housing, Health and Human Services, and others provide case management that help identify the needs of a person or family and links them to resources that can help lift themselves out of homelessness and into permanent housing and a stable socioeconomic status.
And, it is working! While long-term remedies to hunger and homelessness are in the works, your help is needed right now, too, especially with the upcoming holidays.
How will you give to your neighbors and fellow citizens?
There are many ways to give, including donating a turkey, nonperishable food and cash to the United Way’s annual Turkey Drive, cooking and serving meals at the Rescue Mission, and/or coordinating a fundraising event to contribute to the account the Foothills Lions Club has set up at Umpqua bank for survivors of the Cascade and LaPorte/Loma Rica fires.
Whatever and however you give, please know that your donation is received with much gratitude by those in need who just might look like you.
Willa Smith lives in Marysville.
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