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Homeless awareness activities planned

November 04, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

The Cold Weather Shelter of Washington County opened its doors a week ago and already has been busy.

"The first night, Oct. 31, there were 25 people there and that grew to 30 Wednesday night," said Carolyn Moller of the Center for Poverty Solutions.

A week designed to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless will begin Sunday with a candlelight interfaith gathering at St. John's Lutheran Church at 6 p.m. to officially open the shelter.

Run by REACH, Inc., the shelter is next to Christ's Reformed Church at 130 W. Franklin St. It is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily through the spring.

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REACH is an acronym for the Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

While homelessness is a problem all year round, it is most keenly felt when the weather turns cold, Moller said.

The rest of the week's activities are designed to highlight that need.

On Monday, Nov. 8, there will be Soup on the Street in Hagerstown Public Square beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Served by local legislators, the event is co-sponsored by the Center for Poverty Solutions and the Eat Heavenly Catering/Angel Wings Cafe.

A hygiene supplies drive is set for Tuesday, Nov. 9, and Thursday, Nov. 11, from 1 to 6 p.m. both days when donations such as soap, paper towels, toilet paper, etc., can be dropped off at Walnut Towers.

This drive is sponsored by the Hagerstown Housing Authority and Walnut Towers Tenants Association.

Two Washington County Commuter bus tours of Hagerstown's social service agencies and shelters on Wednesday, Nov. 10, will depart from Christ's Reformed Church at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

The Grate American Sleepout will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12, at the intersection of Walnut Street and Park Circle. There volunteers will sleep outside as the homeless would have to do if there were no shelter.

At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, a post-sleepout breakfast will be served by the Washington County Community Action Council and area Lions Clubs.

The final event of the week is a fund-raising dinner and play at First Christian Church at 6 p.m. to benefit REACH.

The play, "The Homecoming," deals with the experiences of a middle class family that finds itself homeless.

For ticket information, call REACH at 301-733-2371.

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