Sleepout reveals plight of the homeless

November 11, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - The Washington County Task Force on Homelessness is sponsoring a week of activities designed to bring public attention to the plight of the homeless in the community.

Included in the activities is the 8th Annual Grate American Sleepout planned for Friday. The sleepout plays an important role in the task force goal to educate the community about homelessness.

The theme this year is Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Open Your Eyes and Open Your Heart!

Organizers say the sleepout is vital because it allows individuals who probably would not otherwise experience homelessness an opportunity to "spend a night on the street."


Participation is open to the public. Those interested in spending the night along with others at Hagerstown City Park should contact Janet Cole of Community Action Council at 301-797-4161.

Other events are planned this week to give people an opportunity to help make a difference for the homeless in the community.

A shelter supply drive will be held to benefit the CASA shelter for women and children; Community Action Council and St. John's Shelters for families; Union Rescue Mission shelter for men; and the REACH Cold Weather Shelter for men and women.

Among the most items always in short supply are 6-, 8- and 12-ounce foam cups, creamer packets, instant oatmeal, powdered drink mix, deodorant, tissues, powdered milk, dish detergent, large trash bags, cotton swabs, aluminum foil, disinfectant cleaner, laundry soap powder, shaving cream, antiseptic cream, disinfectant spray, men's socks, small gauze pads, baby wipes, disposable diapers, men's thermal underwear, sugar packets, bandage strips and disposable razors.

There is also a need for men's winter hats, sugar shakers, bath towels, disposable salt/pepper shakers, napkins, toilet cleaner, bed comforters, dry cereal, new vacuum cleaners, toilet paper, lip balm,, glass cleaner, non-aspirin pain reliever, toothpaste, toothbrushes, instant and ground coffee, cold capsules, heavy duty plates and bowls, paper towels, travel size shampoos, combs, washcloths, pillows, instant cups of noodles, plastic utensils, work gloves, cough drops, instant hot chocolate and plastic wrap.

Items may be dropped off at:

  • REACH Caregivers, Hebron Mennonite Church, 13315 Highlane St., Hagerstown, just off Longmeadow Road near the Long Meadow Fire Department, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

  • St. John's Lutheran Church, 141 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown, near the Washington County Free Library, weekdays.

  • Valley Mall, Food Court, Hagerstown (mall hours).

Another activity planned for the week is Soup On The Street. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, volunteers will gather in Hagerstown Public Square to share hot soup with people.

That event is sponsored by Always Catering of Williamsport and Community Action Council. Donations will be accepted for the REACH Cold Weather Shelter.

The shelter was at The Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, but moves today to Congregation B'Nai Abraham.

The Grate American Sleepout rounds out the week beginning at 7 p.m. Friday and continuing until dawn Saturday.

A breakfast will be served at 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Community Action Council, 101 Summit Ave.

For more information on activities of the Task Force on Homelessness, contact Terri Baker at 301-733-2371 or, Janet Cole at 301-797-4161 or John Kenney at 240-420-2150.

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