fcops-for-tots-2016-full-flattenedHickory – Housing Visions, a group of organizations that work with issues of hunger and homelessness in Catawba County, will hold a series of activities Nov. 12-20 to raise awareness and to help local residents learn how they can help. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is observed in communities throughout the United States.

Area residents are encouraged to attend one or more of these events. Most events are free of charge, although participants are encouraged to bring donated items that might be useful to persons experiencing homelessness. These items include things such as small toiletry items for men or women (including female sanitary supplies), tarps, sleeping bags, small tents, coats or jackets, gloves and knit caps, flashlights and batteries, toilet paper, backpacks, etc. These items will be distributed to persons experiencing homelessness in our county. Some of the activities require pre-registration.

The week kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 12 with the Harvest of Hope Hunger Walk sponsored by the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries. This activity will begin with breakfast at 7 a.m. followed by the walk, starting at 8 a.m. The walk route will be approximately 2.5 to 3 miles in the downtown Hickory area. Participants are asked to pay a $20 registration fee, plus bring two cans of food. Walkers will receive a free tee shirt as supplies last. Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Linda Gensheimer, outreach and group volunteer coordinator, at 828-323-7904 or outreach@ccmhickory.com.

On Sunday, Nov. 13, community members are invited to join persons experiencing homelessness at a worship service held on the square in downtown Hickory at 8-9:30 am. This event is sponsored by Our Father’s Pavilion ministry. Donated items will be distributed to homeless participants following the service.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, there will be a dinner and panel discussion about youth homelessness at Highland Recreation Center, 6-7:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register for this event, go to http://goo.gl/QXVFnD.

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the movie Paper Angels will be shown from noon to 2 p.m. at the Catawba Valley Community College East Wing Auditorium, located in the Main Campus’ Administration Building.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, community members are invited to play bingo with members of the homeless community at the Hickory Soup Kitchen at 1-3 p.m. This is a good way for community members to get to know persons experiencing homelessness. Bring items that persons experiencing homelessness may need to this event. These items will be given out as bingo prizes. Toilet paper is one of the most requested items, although flashlights, batteries and small toiletry items for men and women are also needed.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, “A Walk in Their Shoes” will be held. Participants will start at the Salvation Army and walk to the Hickory Soup Kitchen, where they will eat lunch. This event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at noon. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, go to http://goo.gl/S1AvWG.

For more information, contact Renee Neal at Catawba Valley Community College at rneal@cvcc.edu or 828-327-7000, ext. 4408. Additional information is also available on the Housing Visions website at http://www.housingvisionscatawba.org.

Housing Visions partners include the following: the homeless community, A Caring Alternative, ALFA, Catawba County United Way, Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare, The Corner Table, Catawba Valley Community College, Catawba County Social Services, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministries, Exodus Homes/Exodus Works, Family Guidance Center, Grace House, Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries, Hickory Police Department, Hickory Soup Kitchen, Homeless Veterans’ Program, Partners Behavioral Health Management, Our Father’s Pavilion, Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Sipe’s Orchard Home, The Shepherd’s Heart.