WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Did you know that it's National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week?
It's a campaign geared towards educating the public about the issues of hunger and homelessness, drawing attention to the problem of poverty, and encouraging the public to volunteer and support local anti-poverty agencies.
Each year, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness sponsor Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week during the week prior to Thanksgiving.
Many Americans are living on the edge, forced to choose between basic necessities, such as purchasing food, paying rent, or going to the doctor.
In fact, statistics show, 549,000 Americans are homeless on a typical night.
To make matters worse, reports show, 42 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger.
Some of the men and women who served our country are also sleeping on the street with no place to call home or a warm meal to eat.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, more than 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.
Some of the complex factors influencing homelessness for veterans include poverty, lack of support, extreme shortage of affordable housing, access to health care, traumatic brain injuries, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The vast majority of homeless veterans are reportedly single males from poor and disadvantaged communities.
You can help show your appreciation for the men and women who served by lending a helping hand.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans offers the following tips to help homeless veterans:
- Determine the need in your community. Visit with homeless veteran service providers. Contact your mayor's office for a list of providers, or search the NCHV database.
- Involve others. If you are not already part of an organization, align yourself with a few other people who are interested in attacking this issue.
- Participate in local homeless coalitions. Chances are, there is one in your community. If not, this could be the time to bring people together around this critical need.
- Make a donation to your local homeless veteran service provider.
- Contact your elected officials. Discuss what is being done in your community for homeless veterans.
To learn more about how you can get involved and help homeless veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, click here.