A Helping Hand: Hope 4 Communities
“We were feeling the direct hit of the economy sliding, and was just feeling really anxious about how to get my children ready for back to school because the support we originally had wasn’t there," Hawn said.
Though she and her family were struggling, she couldn’t help but think of the families who were worse off.
“We were involved in a clothes closet and food pantry and Thanksgiving outreaches, so we were seeing those families, so I had really no right to whine 'cause my children had a roof over their head and clothes on their bodies and good food to eat," Hawn said.
Hawn’s done homeless ministry since she was 13 and reached out to the homeless community.
“I asked my home church to host it, and we served 200 of the neediest children with back to school, and it just snowballed from there," Hawn said.
Hope 4 Communities provides homeless families with everything they need to be ready for school: physicals,dental exams, haircuts, and so much more.
“This past year, 11 years later, we had 17 events with 46 partnering churches," Hawn said.
Those events, called Days 4 Hope, served 2,865 kids this year.
“It takes an army of volunteers, and it takes a lot of different levels of responsibility," Hawn said.
Cean Cerny has been part of that army for years and says families get their photos taken and leave with backpacks, school supplies, and everything else they could possibly need.
“..along with gift cards to get clothes and shoes to go back to school with," Cerny said. "It's also a chance to meet people in their community and be loved on for a day.”
Each kid leaves a Day 4 Hope with 53 pounds of food, with help from local partners like All Faiths Food Bank and Detwiler's.
Thanks to Attorney Carl Reynolds, they can leave with even more.
“..for the benefit of our poor children who maybe just need a little helping hand so we’re proud to be part of that," Reynolds said, presenting Hawn a check.
“We’ll be able to serve 12 children with $1,000," Cerny said. "When a kid goes and picks out their backpack from a sea of backpacks and gets to pick their own personal one, its just amazing."
Hope 4 Communities had more than 4,000 volunteers this summer but is always looking for more for other events year-round. If you’re interested in helping out, click here.