Community Outreach initiative

Published 2:53 pm Friday, November 10, 2017

This upcoming week will mark the beginning of a community outreach program, created completely by caring residents of the community with one common goal: to feed and provide services to those in need.

“The amount of support that has been pouring in regarding the issue is absolutely overwhelming, and it’s wonderful to know how many people truly do care,” said Bell County native John Day, who initiated the program.

The process began last month when Day decided he no longer wanted to watch helplessly from the sidelines as people suffered from homelessness and hunger. This birthed the beginning of weekly meetings on the subject, in which all members of the community were welcome to attend and get involved.

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While the meetings began as a way to gain knowledge and discover what programs are available and what still needs to be done, they are now growing into a program all its own. Members of the group are now eager to begin taking action and tackling the issue head on, in order to help provide help and resources to those in need.

Their first step in doing so is a community feeding scheduled to take place next Wednesday. Day and his group are asking for as many people as possible to come together and help out with the event, whether it be through donations or volunteering.

“I just want people to step up and do the right thing. I want this to be done as a community. Everyone claims they care, and now is the time to take action and prove it,” said Day.

The group will be feeding the hungry in various locations, including Kirby Commons, West Cumberland Baptist Church and East End Park on 10th Street. Anyone in need of a meal is more than welcome to attend, whether they’re homeless or simply in a tough spot at the moment. No questions will be asked, and no judgments will be made.

Supplies needed include: vegetable soup, crackers, Styrofoam bowls, plastic spoons, snack cakes and cases of water. Anyone wishing to donate to the cause should bring their items to PJ’s Crater Coffee by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Volunteers are also needed to cook and hand out meals, and anyone interesting in this should also meet at the coffee shop on Tuesday evening in order to discuss their plans for the following day.

Although the primary goal of this is to feed the hungry, Day also hopes to arm as many people as possible with the appropriate resources needed to get them out of their current position and on a better path.

The weekly meetings have brought together many people and organizations with the power to help, many of whom were unaware of the others prior to the formation of the group. By working together, they now each have a much clearer picture of what the next step is and how to grow from there.

Day and the group plan to make this a weekly event, and hope to grow and expand even more in the weeks to come. Everyone in the community is encouraged to become a part of the movement, and one can do so simply by visiting PJ’s Crater Coffee on Wednesday’s at 5 p.m.

“We want to feed people and show them that there is a way out. They need to know that people do care about them and our community supports them,” said Day.