BY DEBBIE PAGE

Iredell Homeless Coalition members are collaborating to ensure homeless and housing insecure community members have food and warmth as temperatures fall and that all children have gifts as the holiday season approaches.

SALVATION ARMY ANGEL TREE REGISTRATION ON WEDNESDAY

The Salvation Army is having a last chance application day for children’s holiday gift assistance (ages 12 and under) through its Angel Tree program on Wednesday, November 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (doors close at 3:30 p.m.) in its chapel at 1361 Caldwell Street in Statesville. A translator will be onsite.

Parents or legal guardians must bring a photo ID and provide a birth certificate or proof of guardianship for each child for whom they are applying.

If they have a Salvation Army referral form from the child’s school counselor or Social Services, that documentation is all they need. If not, to prove need eligibility, they must provide one of these: proof of entire household income, proof of government assistance (WIC/Medicaid, etc.), or proof that child receives free/reduced lunch.

Parents will get information on when to pick up gifts when they are registered.

Area businesses are putting Salvation Army Angel trees out on November 14 get the community’s help to purchase these gifts. Distribution to families will occur on December 16.

Call the Salvation Army for more information at (704) 872-5623 or email Shea at Adrienne.Shea@uss.salvationarmy.org

TOYS FOR TOTS AND OTHER HELP

For any family needing gift assistance in Iredell County, Toys for Tots registration is open November 1-30 at https://reg.planetreg.com/E10259320226663. If you have questions or need assistance, contact TJ Johnson at 704-761-4752 or at tjohnson@SHA-online.org.

Wendy Martin of Goodwill said their Angel Tree Program for children of offenders is underway, with the assistance of Foundation of Hope, Westminster Church of God, and Goodwill. Anyone in need of gift assistance for children of incarcerated persons should contact Martin at wmartin@goodwillnwnc.org.

SPD TOY DRIVE

The Statesville Police Department is having its Fill The Trailer toy drive starting Saturday at the Pumpkin Fest. Other donation dates are November 12 and 19 and December 3 and 10 at the Statesville Walmart. Distribution will be the week of December 19. The program will serve families in need at Brookwood Motel and other families in the community.

MPD HEROES AND HELPERS/BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

The Mooresville Police Department is having a Breakfast with Santa event on December 3 that is open to the public (place and time TBA). On December 12, officers will shop with 20 children in need at Target at its annual Heroes and Helpers event, which is in partnership with the Salvation Army.

COALITION ORGANIZATIONS HAVE URGENT NEEDS

Inflation and the struggling economy have led to increased demand on the Salvation Army’s food bank, which the organization’s social worker Adrienne Shea described as “decimated.”

Donations of frozen and canned meat, rice, potatoes, juices, canned fruit, pasta sauce, spaghetti/pasta, cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter, canned foods (excluding green beans, corn, green peas which are in stock), and other shelf stable items would be appreciated.

Contact Shea at (704) 872-5623 or at adrienne.Shea@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Foundation of Hope Ministries’ (FOHM) Rob Harris said his organization is in desperate need of of pre packaged meals that require minimal cooking for growing homeless camps and for housing insecure community members in motels, some with as many as eight people per room.

Harris said camps of one to three people are scattered in the northern part of Statesville, with two larger camps on the south side with 13 in one and 20 in the other. The encampments’ age spread ranges from small children to the 60s, with pregnant women living there as well.

For camps, FOHM requests donations of pop top canned foods (beanie wienies, soups, stews, canned pastas, meats, etc.) that can be easily heated, tuna, applesauce cups, fruit cups in juice, peanut butter, cereal, small shelf-stable milk, dried fruit and trail mix, and packaged snacks and foods (granola and cereal bars, cheese crackers, jerky or beef sticks).

Those in hotels, who are a fraction away from being homeless, according to Harris, only have campus size refrigerators and can handle limited perishable foods. Donations of large crockpots and meats and chopped veggies to put into pre-packaged meals for future cooking (microwave and crockpot) will help these folks.

The organization also needs 20 heavy duty cots to get folks off the cold ground, insulated cold weather sleeping bags, garbage receptacles and trash bags, heavy blankets, and toiletries and feminine products.

Other needed items are camping cooking stoves, small pots and pans, bed pillows (20), 5 to 6 person size tents, extra large tarps to block rain and wind, propane heaters with tank adapters, and filled propane tanks.

They also need basic medical supplies (i.e. bandages, aspirin/Tylenol/Advil, antiseptic spray, stomach upset aids, gauze pads, muscle pain ointments, Claritin/Allegra/Zyrtec, nose spray, Imodium, Benadryl, hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic ointment, etc.).

FOHM also needs a large commercial food vacuum sealer to pre-package meals for the homeless and motel people they serve. They also need food transport assets, including hot boxes, coolers, and thermal bags.

Additional needs are two chest freezers to store meat and stainless steel wheeled shelving units for additional food storage.

Harris said his organization’s goal is to keep the encampments safe, quiet, and as drug and alcohol free as possible until they can create an individualized plan to help each person get the treatment, assistance, and housing they need to get off the streets.

Community organizations and churches need to coordinate the help they provide with other organizations serving the homeless through groups like the Iredell Homeless Coalition. “It doesn’t help just to throw things at them. We must work with them individually, case by case.”

The organization’s Karen Kidd also noted the struggle for many to pay the entry fee to enter rehab, which FOH tries to help with through grants and donations.

To help or donate, contact Harris at robharris2@gmail.com.

WINTER EMERGENCY SHELTERS

Cochran Street Bible Church in Statesville has again pledged its facility this winter for an emergency shelter if needed. Harris said the site also has food and clothing resources there as well.

Pam Navey is hoping to attend a future Red Cross/county emergency planning meeting to ask for needed county resources for the site as well, such as a generator or other services. The hope is to create an emergency homeless shelter plan to easily implement when winter storm and extreme cold circumstances arise.

Harris noted the need for a shelter for folks with pets and with behavioral health needs.

Prior to a snow storm in January, the Homeless Coalition created an emergency shelter at the church in just two days by pooling resources and getting county Emergency Management assistance.

Homeless advocates fanned out to camps, notified area law enforcement and Fifth Street Ministries, spread the word through social media and local news outlets, and marshaled coalition members’ contacts to alert the homeless to the emergency shelter’s existence.

MOORESVILLE PLANNING EMERGENCY WINTER SHELTER

Mooresville Police Department’s Community Resource Coordinator Lori Carlson said Mooresville’s Emergency Housing committee will meet on November 15 at 10 a.m. in the community room at the new police department facility at the Highway 21 and West Wilson Avenue intersection.

Carlson said the group had grown from six at the initial meeting to over 20 in October. “I appreciate the community’s participation and the compassion they are showing,” she said.

One community church is taking over a building that could possibly be used as an emergency shelter during extreme cold or winter storms. “Hopefully we will have something in place in the next month or so before cold weather sets in,” said Carlson.

The Town of Mooresville has committed funds for operating an emergency shelter but the group must acquire a location.

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