Many smiled as they walked away with bags of merchandise and food. Because of the free items they received, some even had to make two trips. They were leaving the one-day homeless project on Saturday, May 14.
The 1st Project Homeless Connect 2016 offered the homeless or those at risk of homelessness an opportunity to receive free clothing, hygiene packages, hot meals, haircuts, birth certificate assistance as well as free products.
“This is nice,” said one attendee. “Thank God for y’all,” said another.
The event was made possible by a grant from Georgia Department of Community Affairs, as well as other local organizations, such as the Community Outreach Training Center, Inc., Thomas County/Thomasville Homeless Coalition, and the Heritage Foundation.
More than 47 volunteers served, including Thomasville High School Class of 1981, Grillmaster Gary Thomas, Minister Ucher Dent of No More Shackles, Minister Patricia Simmons of Wounded But Not Broken, Elder Priscilla Maxwell of Divine Order and Pastor Sharon Edwards and members of Kingdom Faith Global ministries.
Service providers attending were: Family Endeavors, Community Outreach Training Center, Thomas County Health Department, Senior Life Insurance and the Thomasville DRC/Probation Office staff. Free transportation was provided by Pastor Quinn Choice and the St. Luke A.M.E. Church.
“According to our records, we serviced more than 137 people,” said Sharon D. Edwards, Vice Chairman of the Thomasville/Thomas County Homeless Coalition and Founder/CEO of Community Outreach Training Center. “There were 216 bags of clothing given out.”
Of the 137, six admitted living on the streets, 10 living in cars, others admitted to living in abandoned structures, hotels, transitional and other shelters or with family. According the state definition, anyone not living in their own home is considered homeless.
About 50 requested prayer. In the prayer center were Pastor Angela Tillman and Dr. Emma L. Hedrington. “A couple of them had testimonies that really touched me,” said Pastor Tillman. “This was awesome,” added Dr. Hedrington.
Attendees not only received free grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, but a boxed manna drop that consisted of popped top can goods, water, crackers, and even forks. Peanut butter and crackers also were given. .
“I would just like to say thank you to everyone who helped make this day possible,” said Pastor Edwards. “If you sponsored this day financially or with products, thank you. This was a huge success.”
“I’m looking forward to next year,” said Sunshine Rowles of the Thomas County Health Department. “Next year, we will have more to give.”
Based on Thomasville/Thomas County Homeless Count for January 2015, there were only 52 documented homeless in our county. This count only included those who were confined within the Thomasville City Limits (meaning within the perimeter of Pinetree Blvd.)
WE WERE WRONG! The number of residentially challenged is growing daily – we are in a crisis that cannot be ignored!!!