Local Men Working to Stop Homelessness in East Idaho

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Updated: 12/07/2012 12:39 pm
Many of us take for granted the fact that we get to enjoy a roof over our head every night. But for some in our community, what is taken for granted is a luxury they might not get to enjoy. In this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, we highlight two volunteers in our community doing their part to provide shelter to those who may be down on their luck.

Joe Perdue didn't always know a life of service was for him.

"In high school I was never really that involved in community outreach," said Joe, "I was always involved in athletics."

But for Don Craig, the issue of homelessness has always been one close to his heart.

"It's very rewarding, if you've been to the emergency shelter and met some of the people it's very, very rewarding to be able to help them out," Don said.

These two men volunteer their efforts to aid for friends. The organization seeks to raise awareness of homelessness in east Idaho and also provide relief from the problem.

As with all things, it takes money. Six years ago Aid for Friends started the homeless encampment as a way to raise some quick funds and now it has grown into an over half decade tradition.

"It’s an all-day event," said don, "we want to make sure everybody's safe and so we have an outdoors instructor form Idaho State University to give a cold weather class. We get boxes donated from pacific recycling. These are great, big, boxes that we use to actually sleep in. There are certain ways to set them up so that the wind won't blow them down in the middle of the night. We build a wind break, and a fire pit - burn barrel - to stand around and keep warm at night. There's a soup kitchen and then basically you spend the night in the box."

And both men hope to shine a light on an issue that is close to home

"They’re my neighbor technically," Joe said, "I live three blocks down from the shelter itself and so it’s helping out my community and who knows, I could always go homeless one day."

"A lot of these people are just community members, citizens, that something's happened, whether it's the economy, they've lost their jobs and eventually lost their homes and found themselves on the street," said don. "It can happen pretty quickly"

And if you wonder what you can do to help out your fellow man, Don says it doesn't really take much

"Everybody can help out," Don said, "you can always make a donation, you can organize your own event, bake sale, car wash, things like that and donate the money. There are a lot of different things individuals can do and organizations can do to help out."

For more information on ways you can help in the community you can visit seidahovolunteer.org.
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