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Why this family-run nonprofit that's feeding the hungry deserves to stay open.

'We do this to say, "Come be happy. Let us take care of you."'

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State Farm

Hosea Williams once had an interaction with a homeless man that changed his life — and his family — forever.

That day, he came across a man eating out of a garbage can, so he decided to buy him a sandwich. The man was so hungry he ate right through the wax paper to get to the food.

Williams was so struck by the experience that he immediately decided to do something to help on a larger scale. And as a national field officer for Martin Luther King Jr., he was no stranger to rallying humanitarian efforts.That Sunday, he and his family fed 100 homeless and hungry people.


Hosea Williams. All photos via State Farm.

And that was just the beginning of their work.

They soon started a nonprofit called Hosea Helps to keep their mission going to help the homeless and hungry. Now, over 40 years later, his daughter, Elisabeth Omilami, is at its helm.

Thanks to tireless efforts and thousands of volunteers, they've fed over 500,000 people since 1971.

Hosea Helps volunteers.

"We were there for Katrina. We were there for Flint, Michigan. We were there for Haiti and the Philippines, Uganda. We were there," Elisabeth says.

However, aside from helping during large-scale humanitarian crises, the organization shines on national holidays.

One of their biggest events happens on Thanksgiving. They serve Thanksgiving dinner to thousands of people at one time, and they can enjoy it while listening to live music.

They also give access to hot showers, clothing, toiletries, medical examinations, legal advice, job placement, chiropractor services, housing consultation, and counseling free of charge to those who need it.

"We do this to say, 'Come be happy. Let us take care of you,'" Elisabeth says.

Considering all they do, it's heartbreaking to learn Hosea Helps itself lost its home recently.

Hosea Helps volunteer closing down their original space.

They were given 30 days to vacate the space they'd been occupying for over 26 years. It was the same building where Elisabeth's father Hosea's offices once were.

Because of this major setback, the Omilamis weren't sure the organization was going to make it through the year.

However, thankfully, there's a new generation stepping up to the plate to make a difference.

Elisabeth's son, Awodele, is going to be taking over Hosea Helps and already has big plans for the nonprofit. He's been helping the homeless since he was a boy and will pick up the torch by spearheading renovations in their new building.

"We sold everything — we had just to get that building — but it was worth it to secure the future of our organization," Elisabeth says.

Jeremy Austin, one of Hosea Helps' volunteers.

They have high hopes for the new space, but they also have some incredible volunteers — many of whom used to be homeless themselves.

"When I got help, it was more than just food," says Jeremy Austin, one of Hosea Helps' volunteers who used to be homeless. "They actually helped me find a job. They pretty much changed my life."

Hosea Helps has 18 different programs designed to help solve the problems facing families and individuals who are living in poverty and may be facing homelessness.

Some of these programs are research-based while others are putting plans into action designed to ease the burden of poverty, but all programs are aimed at turning around the homelessness epidemic.

A child and grandmother at a Hosea Helps event.

"We’re all one big family," says Sean Peek, another volunteer. "We have to help each other out."

There's still a lot that needs to be done for Hosea Helps to get back on track, but the Omilamis aren't worried. They'll always find a way.

"Even if the future holds us having to make bologna sandwiches and take them under the bridge, then that’s what we’ll do," says Afemo.

Despite all that organizations like Hosea Helps do, homelessness remains an enormous problem in America. If you want to lend a hand, there are so many ways for you to get involved. Check out Hosea Helps' website for more details.

Learn more about their work here:

Help for the Holidays: Hosea Helps

They're going to feed thousands of homeless people this holiday season despite the fact that the organization was recently without a home itself.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, November 22, 2017
All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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