Around 6000 men, women and children were homeless at one point or another in our community in 2012…and the Syracuse Rescue Mission is spending this week to raise awareness.
Today about 30 people went on a hunger and homeless walk from Clinton Square. Rescue Mission C-E-O Alan Thornton was one of the walkers.
“It is an issue that continues to be a challenge for this community. The Rescue Mission partners with other organizations like Salvation Army and Catholic Charities to help bring an end to homelessness and help move people into permanent, affordable housing.”
Thornton reports the Mission helped find 517 people permanent housing in the past year. The agency also serves up to 800 meals a day to those in need, as well as shelters 132 men each night. Ricky Ludington was among the participants in today’s walk who’s receiving services – and support.
“We’re one of the local homeless. We’ve been out here about 5 ½ years and it means a lot to us. The community needs to be aware that there’s a lot of homeless out here. We are here; we’re not invisible and we’re not going to go anywhere. We need help.”
The Rescue Mission has activities each day this week …including a Syracuse Sleep Out tomorrow, during which staff members will spend a night on the streets.
SYRACUSE SCHOOL CHILDREN HELP RAISE AWARENESS
A group of Syracuse school children also got a first-hand look at the problem when teachers and students took part in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Parkview Junior Academy teacher Kim Kaiser brought 18 students from grades three-thru-five to the Rescue Mission’s homeless awareness walk Monday. She says they came mainly because of the students’ passion for the topic.
“Some of them have been very close to it. A lot of them are resettled refugees. Some of them, many of them live in poverty. So homelessness is an issue they brought up and they’re really passionate about. So I think it’s appropriate because it matters to them.”
The students had visited the Rescue Mission earlier to see services provided for the homeless and the needy. One of the parents along for the event thought it gives the kids some good perspective.
“I think it’s great because they need to learn early what it really means because they can take for granted the things that they have and the things that we take for granted as adults even. So it’s good for them to get involved.”
The Rescue Mission has other activities for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week…details at RMLifeChanging.org.