Non-Profit Agency Looking For A Few Good Hands - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/02/04

Non-Profit Agency Looking For A Few Good Hands

Even though employment is up across the nation, there are still some people in our area who are looking for work. Many of these people have families to support and wind up homeless during their job search.

For the past three years, the Interfaith Hospitality Network has helped families through this rough transition, but now the agency itself is looking for a little extra support.

"We're looking for volunteers who will work in the office answering the phones, doing light administrative duties. And we're looking for volunteers at the churches - people who can fix a meal, spend the night." Interfaith Hospitality Network Director Debra Melton said.

Melton once worked as a volunteer herself, but the things she saw as a volunteer drove her to work full-time in community service.

"We have homelessness all along the coast. We have kids that are living in cars with their parents. They sleep in the trunks, they sleep in the backseat of the car, they have all their belongings stacked up in the car, floor-to-ceiling, if they're lucky enough to have a car," Melton said.

The Interfaith Hospitality Network opened its doors in 2001. Since then, the program has helped about 75 families get back on their feet

"This is a helping hand program. We are not here to give a hand out, we're here to lend a hand, to help the adults get jobs, to get social services started," Melton said.

And that's just what the Interfaith Hospitality Network will continue to do - hopefully with the help of a few extra volunteers in the days to come.

A number of local churches have partnered with the Interfaith Hospitality Network, providing housing and meals each week on a rotating basis. The network is the only program on the coast that keeps entire families together during times of homelessness.

If you'd like to volunteer or make a donation, call 432-7947.

by Toni Miles

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