On Saturday, the 23rd of December, my family and I took a visit to the Oak City Outreach Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.
I first noticed a homelessness problem in Nashville and it made me very sad to see people with no homes or people to care for them.
It was especially upsetting in New York when it started snowing and was so cold. I couldn’t stop thinking of how cold the homeless people would be and hoping they could sneak into the subway to get warm.
I even saw a pregnant lady.
How could that happen? I couldn’t imagine my Mum having to live on the streets while I was in her tummy. What happens when the baby is born?
It’s not right that people in this world have to sit on the streets, day and night.
This is something I feel strongly about, so that’s why we decided to do something to help and donate blankets to our friend’s charitable project, Local Warmth, and then join him one Saturday to hand out blankets to the homeless in Raleigh.
I’m glad I did something to help, and you can help too – because even a small thing can help a bigger problem.
Information on Oak City Outreach Center
Oak City Outreach Center is a part of The Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness.
In the centre, they have food donations come in regularly so people in need can have something to eat and drink.
Unfortunately, the Outreach Center only gets enough donations to serve food just on Saturday and Sunday and three meals are served that day.
I don’t understand why you couldn’t have one meal per day (for six days a week) instead of just doing it on the weekends?
Also, when it get’s to a certain temperature, (especially in winter time) everyone ( referring to the homeless,) can come inside and cool off, or get warm.
We had a quick look inside the building where all the staff members where setting food up for lunch. It was a small place, but at least it was something.
Another thing, is the homeless can have snacks throughout the day while they are waiting for meals to be ready. I’m not sure exact what time they have food out, but I know they serve lunch around 1 pm.
Next door is a Rescue Mission that provides overnight accommodation.
Handing Out Blankets with Local Warmth
Hitesh was the first friend my Mum and Dad made when they moved to Raleigh in 2004.
He was upset by the homelessness problem and started his own project to help a few years ago called Local Warmth.
It goes to show that anyone can do anything to help, it doesn’t matter how small it is. A warm blanket on a cold night is so very helpful.
Thanks to donations, he purchases lightweight, yet warm blankets to hand out every winter.
We donated money to help supply some of the blankets and then joined Hitesh to hand out the blankets at the Outreach Center around lunch time on the Saturday.
All four of us got around a dozen blankets, which disappeared quickly.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of people needing to be warm, but many missed out, because we didn’t have enough.
What really made me sad was there was children there too. It would be terrible if you had to spend your childhood on the streets in the cold, no food to eat, nowhere to go.
Handing out blankets only took a couple minutes, but that doesn’t matter. I wish we could have given more.
Again, I’m glad we did what we did- because a small thing can help just as much as a big one can.
Why is Homelessness Such a Big Problem in the US?
I haven’t noticed many homeless people in Australia before so I’m not sure why it’s such a big problem in the US.
Maybe I haven’t been to the places where it is a problem back home.
Mum and I did a little research and found out that:
- There’s over half a million people without a roof over their heads in the US
- More than 4,000 people are homeless in Wake County (the Raleigh area) and 1 in 30 are children
- New York and Los Angeles have the second and third highest rates of homelessness in the world
From everything Mum and I read on homelessness it’s hard to say why it’s such a big problem in the US. It shouldn’t be as America is such a wealthy country. It’s silly.
I think the government spends their money on the wrong things instead of helping to make the cost of living lower for people.
I don’t think they spend enough on education either to help people get higher paying jobs.
Why People Are Homeless
- In Raleigh, 1 in 6 people are low income earners. Many work part time with no benefits, the wait list to get help with affordable housing is years long.
- The high cost of living (people can’t afford rent and food)Many people how live on the streets still work every day, they just can’t afford a place to stay.
- A large number of homeless people suffer mental illness, and can’t take care of themselves properly and can’t get enough help.
- Many people have suffered tragedies like car crashes or illness and lost all their savings.
- More than half the women in Raleigh are victims of abuse and domestic violence so they leave their homes.
- People released from jail can’t get jobs or rent an apartment because no one will hire them or let them stay anywhere.
Here’s How You Can Help:
- Research homelessness in your local area. Here is a directory that may help
- Donate supplies or volunteer to help. I like this project for kids.
- Here are more tips on how you can help
And just remember, be kind and spread happiness.