Homeless and Hunger Awareness Month Focus: SWEPS Pantry
For the City Times
Submitted by Dale Davis
At SWEPS Food Pantry we have the pleasure of helping people in need. Some of those we serve are in their darkest hour. We strive to provide an atmosphere of kindness and respect for all who enter our doors. It is our goal for them leave having been positively impacted.
Some of our clients are young. As they start a new life with little mouths to feed, food insecurities become an issue. This issue is sometimes worsened by the fact they are homeless. Some of our clients are older. They have outlived their retirement and on what little they have to live on, they slowly start losing all they have worked to gain. They become homeless per say, looking for a new place to call home. Some have literally lost everything and all they have left is their car and the cloths on their back. Homeless, but not by choice. What is homeless, you ask? Homeless is basically having no place to call home. It could mean sleeping on a different couch every night or sleeping in their car. Some “live” in a camper or find shelter in hotel rooms. Others eagerly take any place warm and dry.
This present state is not only extremely hard, but also discouraging. When they come to us for food, we try and accommodate their inability to refrigerate or cook foods. But, we don’t stop there. We also refer them to agencies who can address that issue of homelessness. Encourage them to call 211 and seek out resources to alleviate some of their suffering. Help make them aware of other programs who can address a need we cannot.
We may be a beacon of hope for them when it comes to food insecurities. That we thoroughly enjoy being. However, with the collaborative efforts of all the wonderful programs in our community, we can point them to the next program to lift them out of their pit of despair. I believe it is the collective work of all these programs that take homeless people and house them, hungry people and feed them, sad-hearted people and give them hope.
It seems there will always be those who need shelter, those who need food and those who need hope. But, I believe, with the collaborative work we have going, there will always be people there to meet that need and do so in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. This is the blessing of community.
Dale Davis is the Operations Manager for SWEPS Food Pantry and The Neighborhood Table. Both programs are dedicated to addressing the issue of food insecurities in South Wood County and making the needs known.
SWEPS does this by providing food sufficient for 21 meals once every 30 days. TNT does this by providing hot meals every Thursday and the last two Tuesdays of the month. SWEPS and TNT also work collaboratively to host Mobile Food Pantries during the summer months.