A warm blanket offers much more than shelter from the cold. It provides a feeling of comfort and a level of security.
The Community Services Organization of Beaufort County is working to ensure every member of the community has that opportunity to experience that same warmth and comfort, especially those living on the streets. They are holding the Everyone Counts event to provide the homeless with supplies and services from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Green Street Gym in Beaufort.
The Community Services Organization, a coalition of more than 45 agencies in Beaufort County, conducted a count of homeless individuals living in Beaufort County in January. The number the group documented was more than 200. In order to help keep those members of the community warm during the cold, winter months, the group organized the first Everyone Counts event that January, giving out coats and other clothing.
Fred Leyda, with Beaufort County Human Services Alliance, is a member of the subcommittee organizing the event. He says, “We're seeing people who have never in their entire lives considered asking for public assistance, but now, for the first time, they need help, and they don't know what's available for them.”
For that reason, the CSO felt it necessary to continue providing those displaced individuals and families with the resources they need to overcome their current circumstances, which is why the group is organizing the upcoming event. The homeless who attend will have the opportunity to receive warm clothing such as coats, blankets, sleeping bags and especially extra-large sweat suits, enjoy a free meal and learn about agencies and resources that can help.
Besides the practical application of helping keep the homeless warm this winter, Leyda says the organizers want to provide “a sense of hope and the knowledge that people do care.”
“This event gives folks an opportunity to meet and assist real people with real needs in our own community,” Leyda says. “Given our current economic crisis it’s more important than ever to find tangible (non-monetary) ways we can reach out to our neighbors.”
The event will also include on-site stations offering resume writing services, telephone services, healthcare information, barber/cosmetology services, Veterans Affairs representation, toiletry kits and Medicaid representation.
Organizers agree this event is a time neighbors and community members can step outsides themselves and make real connections with one another.
“Come to … lunch and talk to the man next to you about the challenges he faces every day,” Ledya says. “I guarantee you'll get a new perspective on your life!”
Transportation to the site will be provided by various churches that morning from the following locations:
- St. Helena Baptist Church and Martin Luther King Park on St. Helena Island;
- the Food Lion parking lot on Lady’s Island; the Goodwill Store in Burton;
- the parking lot of Piggly Wiggly on Ribaut Road in Port Royal;
- and the Albany General Store in Sheldon Township.
Although Beaufort County doesn’t have a general homeless shelter, it does have facilities that provide shelter for specific populations:
- Room at the Inn for homeless mothers;
- Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse for homeless victims of domestic abuse;
- TLC Ministries in Sheldon for homeless men struggling with addiction;
- and Alfreda’s Sea Islanders Home for transitional and supportive housing for homeless veterans and other adults.
How you can help:
The event still needs volunteers such as medical or dental care providers, cosmetologists as well as those willing to help people navigate the event.
If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Valerie Althoff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are needed from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Donations of clothing such as coats, gloves, hats, socks, blankets, sleeping bags and extra-large sweat suits will be accepted during the event or by calling 843-592-1352 to schedule an appointment to drop off at 1053 Otter Circle, Beaufort.