Local man speaks about homelessness issue

Published 1:29 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

Recent situations have stirred up quite the discussion regarding homelessness in the community, and one Bell County native is going above and beyond to initiate a change.

“We’ve always had a homeless problem in the area, but lately it seems to be growing very rampant and I really just want to draw attention to that and get more people in the community, myself included, to stand up and try to make a difference,” said John Day.

Day, a local DJ and father, has taken it upon himself to begin weekly sessions, in which those sharing his warmhearted nature can come together and discuss methods to help ensure that the significantly less fortunate are provided with access to their daily needs, regardless of any choices they may have made to put them in the position they’re currently in.

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“Despite their background, their choices, or whatever happened to put them in this situation, we don’t care,” Day said. “We just want to put all of that aside and help them.”

These sessions are focused primarily on providing meals and basic resources to as many in need as possible. However, Day would like to expand this helping hand even further, by eventually offering counseling as to what the next step in retaking control of their life would be, thus helping these citizens get back on their feet and become productive members of society.

The group plans to find and contribute to organizations throughout the county that are working to make a difference, such as the Salvation Army and their initiative to provide at least one meal a day through the week.

While this is an admirable task and one meal a day could mean survival for someone struggling with hunger, Day and his group believe that even more should be done and they want to assist the organization in making that possible.

The entire project began with a simple Facebook post of Day’s, in which he shared his distress for the homeless epidemic he so dolefully sees growing each day. In response, many shared the same concern, leading to the creation of these weekly sessions.

The first meeting, held this past Wednesday, featured the attendance of a woman who has been forced to experience the tragic reality of homelessness first hand. When asked where those such as herself are being failed, she reluctantly admitted that, first of all, the majority consider it a daily struggle just to find a place to sleep and seek shelter, let alone have access to proper meals.

She also revealed that, while most are making tremendous efforts to get themselves out of their position, they simply do not have the resources to do so. They do not have the appropriate clothes and hygienic supplies needed to successfully seek out a job, nor do many of them have transportation to travel from place to place.

Several of those in this position have struggled for years with substance abuse and, because of that, have cut all ties they once had to their family and friends. The lack of support likely leaves them with a sense of hopelessness, as they feel it is unlikely for them to ever get their life back on track.

Although suggestions of serving only those capable of passing a drug test have been made, Day refuses this idea due to his understanding of the various situations life can place one in, as well as his compassion for all in need, even those who may have once made the wrong choice.

Because of this, Day believes it is of the utmost importance that, as a community, a network of people willing to help and show support is created.

Everyone is encouraged to join that network and help out in any way they find possible — whether through volunteering to feed and hand out supplies, donating to the group or even by providing them with something vital for reaching the next step in their lives, such as demonstrating how to create a job resumé, or teaching proper social skills.

When it comes down to it, everyone is capable of helping in some form or another. One does not have to be extremely wealthy or religious in order to make a difference; they simply have to have a compassionate heart and the drive to support those less fortunate.

“I would love to see some like-minded individuals who care about the community and the people to step up and be a part of this, either through volunteer work or by finding their own way to contribute,” said Day.

The meetings are going to be held each Wednesday at 5 p.m. at PJ’s Crater Coffee and anyone is welcome to attend. While the coffee shop normally closes at 3 p.m., the owners wanted to contribute to the cause in any way they could, and chose to stay open later than usual on this day in order to host the sessions.