LIMA — The week before many people give thanks for their blessings, the Hunger and Homelessness Committee is bringing awareness to people without homes or enough to eat.
The committee’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Walk will happen Saturday downtown, committee member and Allen County Children Services family aide Kelly Smith said.
Registration for the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9 a.m. from Allen County Children Services on Spring Street. The route will take walkers to Our Daily Bread, Lima Rescue Mission, businesses along Main Street, Family Promise on Pierce Street and back to Children Services.
Light refreshments will be available at many of the stops, and walkers are invited to stop in for a snack, tour and information about each agency.
“We think a lot of people haven’t seen those places, haven’t been in them, or realize how many people they serve,” Smith said. “The stereotype is a bum at the underpass, but that’s not right. There are lots of women and children, lots of working homeless people, lots of families bumping from house to house.”
The walk will happen regardless of the weather conditions.
“We don’t know what to expect at this time of year, but that was one of the things we thought about. This represents what families have to go through all year round,” Smith said.
That day, people can make monetary donations or donate non-perishable food items and undergarments (new socks and underwear and new or lightly used bras). Donations can be made all week at Children Services and also the OSU-Lima/Rhodes State campus. All items will be donated to local pantries and shelters.
The event is a first for the committee, which has previously marked National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in other ways.
Lima schools transitional living coordinator Sara Bowsher said every community has hungry and homeless people in it. Her job with the school district is to work with homeless families; the job also exists in every school district, Bowsher said.
“At Lima, we’ve done a good job of educating staff, secretaries and bus drivers to recognize signs of homelessness,” Bowsher said. “We’ve learned language to ask about. For example, when moving doesn’t mean moving to a new home, but moving in with grandma, or why a child is making a bus stop change.”