By Barbara Vickery
Special to The Daily News
GREENVILLE — Look around Greenville and you will see people trying to beat the summer heat. Thinking about the homeless and wondering how they escape the extreme temperatures at this time of year?
One place of refuge is Hope Rescue Mission in Greenville. We offer those with no place else to go a place out of the sun. We try to keep plenty of liquids available for people at the shelter and in need. However, our donations of water to give away is depleted
Most people don’t think anything of putting a few coins in as pop machine or stopping at the convenience store to pick ups something cold to drink. But for a homeless person, sometimes it’s hard to find a place to just get a drink of water.
The other day a person said they saw a homeless person sleeping by the river and wondered what they could do to help them. You see, they don’t all prefer to stay at the shelter. However, I did offer some suggestions of effective help for homeless and the less fortunate people during hot weather:
• Don’t give money handouts. Cash can be used to purchase alcohol or drugs that affect a person’s ability to sense the harmful effects of exposure to heat and sun. Instead give bottled water, purchase food items yourself, refer the person to an agency that can provide food, shelter and other assistance, or give coupons to restaurants or grocery stores that can be turned in for food.
• Sunscreen and umbrellas can be given to protect people from the sun.
• Food is often in short supply at homeless shelters during this time of year, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, canned juices and meats. As for our food pantry and shelter we are very low on food. We have seen a big increase in clients wanting boxes of food.
• Electric fans are needed for families that do not have air-conditioning in their homes. We currently do not have any to give away at this time.
• Light and loose clothing is useful for those wanting to shower and clean-up.
• Disposable diapers help the parents of little ones cope with the heat. In hot weather, diapers need to be change more often to combat heat and diaper rash. We currently are out of diapers to give away.
• Toiletry articles are always in demand and short supply.
If there is anything you can do to donate some of the above items we are currently out of, please feel free to drop them off at 1015 E. Washington St. in Greenville. To find more about how you can help homeless people and the less fortunate during the summer heat contact GLC HOPE Ministries (Hope Rescue Mission and God’s Love Closet) at (616) 754-7951.
Barbara Vickery is the executive director of GLC Hope Ministries, God’s Love Closet and Hope Rescue Mission in Greenville.