Every day, approximately 6,000 people in Clinton County struggle to afford the necessities for survival: safe housing, healthy food, childcare, reliable transportation, and even medical services. Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families. But unless you've taken a walk in their shoes and had first-hand experience with poverty, it's difficult to truly understand.
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an annual program where people come together across the country to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. Throughout November, a series of related educational, service, and advocacy events will take place in Clinton, including a food assistance event, an official proclamation from the City of Clinton, a poverty simulation and a documentary film screening.
On Thursday, November 7, the River Bend Mobile Food Pantry will have free packaged foods available for hungry area residents. Partners in the food distribution include ADM, Information, Referral and Assistance, the Associate benevolent Society, the Salvation Army, Community Action and RSVP. Food distribution will take place indoors at the former Ashford University gymnasium located at 400 North Bluff Blvd. in Clinton. Registration will be from 10:15-11:00 AM with food distribution starting at 11:00 AM. Organizers ask that no one arrive before 10:15 AM. It is suggested that participants be prepared to wait as the process can take up to two hours and that containers such as laundry baskets should be brought to carry the food home.
On Tuesday, November 12, at the regular Clinton City Council meeting, Mayor Mark Vullich will officially proclaim the week of November 16-24 as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in Clinton.
On Saturday, November 16, area residents will have an opportunity to take part in a poverty simulation here in Clinton. The poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month.
This event will start and end at the Human Services Campus, located at 250 20th Avenue North in Clinton. Upon arrival at 8:00 AM, participants will receive directions and a packet of information detailing the person they are portraying and what their goals are for the duration of the half-day experience. Participants will then venture out in the community in an attempt to navigate the system to get their needs met. After the exercise, the group will reconvene at the Human Services Campus for a de-briefing and a panel discussion. The event is scheduled to conclude at 2:00 PM. Children over the age of 16 may participate if accompanied by an adult. Lunch will be provided.
Co-sponsors of the event include the Franciscan Peace Center; Information, Referral and Assistance; Pathway Living Center and the Area Substance Abuse Council. The event is being held in recognition of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week which takes place November 16-24.