BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Previously, KX News spoke to the Executive Director of United Way about homelessness awareness week. Now, our reporters had the opportunity to walk alongside people raising awareness for the cause.
“We just try to make the best living that we can in our situation, and then get out of it,” said Drew, a resident of United Way’s Center for Opportunity.
The Center for Opportunity gives the homeless living in our community a second chance and typically houses more than 100 homeless people while helping them get back on their feet.
“Some people have just made mistakes and they just need a second chance,” said shelter manager Lane Hoffer. “We’ll help you get your ID, your social security card, and your birth certificate. We also obviously offer lodging, so people can have a night’s stay. We also have a washer and dryer so people can wash their clothes, and five showers on site, so people can take a shower. That’s what’s really important in helping people get back on their feet.”
United Way also offers many different services to help people reintegrate into the community.
“Everybody’s situation is different. A lot of people are recovering, I’m a recovering alcoholic myself,” shared Drew.
For Drew, a lot of his typical day is spent walking the streets of the capital city, as he travels in search of his daily meal.
“The dream center is about three-quarters of a mile away,” he recalled. “The soup kitchen’s about a mile and a half uptown.”
To help raise awareness of these daily difficulties, community members walked from the shelter to the Dream Center in United Way’s annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes event. They say this helps raise awareness of just how many people the United Way helps.
“I honestly don’t think many people realize that there is a need here, and a homeless population here,” said Hoffer.
Members of the shelter say the walk gives hope to many — and at the very least, shows that there are plenty of people in the local community who care about those in need.
“It really helps us out,” Drew stated. “It gives us hope in humanity, that not all humanity looks down on us. A lot of the time we get the feeling that regular people — people who have a job and a house and have everything going for them — look down upon the homeless like we’re all addicted to drugs and alcohol, and are a bunch of thieves. It gives us hope that there’s still good in our fellow man to help us out.”
Volunteers say there are many different ways that you can help give hope to the homeless. If you’d like to help out United Way through donations or volunteer work, you can find out how to do so on this page.