Thanksgiving Chance to Offer Homeless Services, Shelter Official Says | News

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Thursday morning, the cooks at the Daniel Pitino Shelter on Walnut Street were preparing dinner for the community.

The smoked turkeys donated were ready to be sliced, while refuge cooks Konnie Dixon and Katelyn Bynum took large platters of baked ham with pineapple and salad dressing out of the large kitchen ovens. Containers – tubs, in fact – of macaroni and cheese on the stove waiting to be served.

How much food would be left over before lunch was over was a puzzle. The plan was to feed everyone, including extra portions, until everyone was full.

Thanksgiving dinner is an annual tradition at the Pitino Shelter, although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way it is done. Meals are now served in take-out trays.

Granted, the meal is important in itself, but said it also gives shelter staff a chance to provide services to homeless people.

“Nurturing the community is the most important thing we can do,” said Cheryl Moore, Director of Accommodation Programs. “It’s one of my favorite activities at the shelter.

The refuge serves Thanksgiving dinner to anyone who wants to eat, and Moore said staff expected 120 to 150 people to stop by by Thursday. Meals in take-out boxes are served to all who are hungry every day.

“Anyone can come and have a meal. It doesn’t matter what their income, ”Moore said. ” It is open to all.

While meals are important in themselves, they also allow shelter staff to provide services to homeless people.

“We distribute hygiene items (items), gloves, hats if they need them, and do outreach to the community,” Moore said. “Even though it’s something as small as donating hats, gloves and hygiene, we want to do it. “

People who are homeless may be reluctant to seek any help, due to the social stigma faced by homeless people, Moore said. But being homeless isn’t a character flaw, it’s the result of circumstances, Moore said.

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For many people, at least the possibility of becoming homeless is closer than they think. In 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve reported that many Americans would experience financial trouble if they suddenly ran into a $ 400 bill. A 2019 study from New York University listed the top causes of homelessness such as job loss, sudden illness or accident, or debt, all of which can lead to eviction.

“No one chooses roaming,” Moore said. “There are events and circumstances that occur over time… Everyone’s situation is unique and different.

“I think it takes a lot of courage to walk through the doors of a homeless shelter,” Moore said, and said: “Homelessness is not an illness or ailment. thing that happened.

When people come for a meal, the shelter can offer a variety of aids, from a pantry to assistance with obtaining identification, to settling people into an apartment. , which helps them maintain their current residence. For example, the “Quick Relocation” program can move a person into an inspected apartment and provide rent and utility payments for up to two years. It’s time and space for a family to get back on its feet.

Shelter staff are there to offer help, not to push someone into taking more they are ready for, Moore said.

“We start where they’re ready to start,” Moore said.

The shelter has needs, particularly compartmental take-out trays for meals, zippered bags, sandwich bags, coffee, cream, sugar, blankets and pillows. Anyone wishing to make a donation can call the shelter at 270-688-9000.

The community can also help by notifying homeless shelters in the area if there is someone who may need help, Moore said.

“Homelessness is not a unique problem. It’s not just Pitino or Saint-Benoît… it’s a community issue, ”said Moore. The homeless community could be helped by “all working together for the common goal of helping people and recognizing that with a (missed) paycheck or two, I could be where you stand.” “

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