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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 12:01 am

SURVIVAL OF THE FULLEST

The frigid temperatures of winter mean trouble for the homeless folks of Springfield. Although there is a temporary overflow shelter during winter for those who don’t get one of the limited spots at the year-round shelters, even the overflow shelter is often full, and people don’t always make it to the overflow shelter for various reasons. To help homeless people who might slip through the cracks, Homeless United for Change is distributing “Survival Kits” that contain items like warm socks, stocking hats, hard candy, personal care items, a Bible and even handwritten letters of encouragement. JoAnn Overholt, children and youth director at Laurel United Methodist Church in Springfield, said the church’s high school youth group collected items and put together 50 survival kits for HUC. Overholt says one question really crystallized the issue for the youth group: Can you name 10 places in Springfield where you could go to be safe and warm if you were homeless? At night, those options become a lot scarcer, Overholt says. The youth group performed its work while participating in a “30-hour famine,” which teaches young people about world hunger through fasting and encourages them to take action. For more information about the survival kits, contact Linda Gessaman, executive director of Homeless United for Change at 816-2766 or homelessunitedforchange@gmail.com.

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