“Reality is, that most of us are only a paycheck away from homelessness,” said Heather Bearden, Lead Housing Resource Specialist and co-chair of the Homeless Awareness Week in St. Clair County.
Nov. 12 through Nov. 20 is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week. Drives, demonstrations and events will be taking place all over the country.
The city of Port Huron is no exception to the upcoming annual events.
Starting Nov. 12, Pathway Shelter, located at 511 Union St in Port Huron, is holding a basic needs drive. Food, toiletries, clothing and “anything you feel would be useful to homeless individuals and families,” according to the event flyer. These items may be dropped off at Pathway or at the location of the events during the week.
Wednesday, Nov. 16, the “I Care Walk” will be meeting at Pathway, marching through downtown Port Huron to the Municipal Office Building at 100 McMorran Blvd, where there will be a Speak Out at 6 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. until Saturday, Nov. 19 at 9 a.m. is an annual Sleep Out at Pine Grove Park. There will be food and beverages available. Bon fires, music and other entertainment will be available on site. It is suggested to dress warmly for this event and participants may bring their tents.
“All events are free and open to the public. All ages are welcome, the more the merrier,” said Bearden. These collaborative community events are meant to eliminate the stigma of homelessness and educate the community.
“Each year 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness,” according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, http://www.nationalhomeless. org.
“The homeless population is composed of people from all walks of life, it doesn’t discriminate. It affects people of all ages,” said Bearden, “We need to get the word out there. Homelessness affects everyone and at any given moment any one of us could be in those shoes.”
For further information regarding the drive and events, contact Pathway Shelter at (810)-982-1020 or Heather Bearden at (810)-989-9307 ext. 306, or refer to www.facebook. com/ homelessawarenessweek2011.