What was observed during the experience? I chose to volunteer at the local food bank in my area. The experience was a most humbling one. To see people and their families down on their luck and in need of the community help. It really made me very grateful that God has continued to bless my family. While homelessness affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities and geographies, there are groups of people at increased risk. Those people are discharged from prison, young adults leaving foster care, and people without health insurance. We need to do more as a community by educating the public on your state homeless programs. I noticed a family that comprise of a mother and two young children. The family was an African American family the children looked between the ages of 6 to 10 years old. They came into the food bank for dinner as they moved through the line gathering their food. I watched as they sat down at the table to eat their food. I could not help but wonder what was the reason they were homeless. Seeing the family in this kind of situation makes me feel sad. I have a daughter around the same age as the little girl and it makes me want to do more to help any and everybody in this situation. They were other families there that I noticed some friendlier than others. I pray God will continue to watch over each and every family that come to the food bank for assistance.
How did the experience affect you? When I began spending time at the local food bank. My sole purpose was to make a difference in somebody life. Little did I know the experience would my a difference in my own life. Now I am more aware that homelessness in America is far bigger than ever reported. I also learned that veterans comprise one fourth of the homeless, the result of readjusting challenges, few job skills, lack of available job, and little government help once discharged, and for growing numbers, disabling injuries and PTSD. With the knowledge
I have learned since my experience, I can help by spreading the word by using my status as an active duty sailor. The Navy has many organizations that can help contribute to the homeless cause by volunteering, fundraising and giving money. I know that our effects will not stop homelessness but I pray that we can make a difference.
What are the needs of the population that you interacted with? Every day in the United States, families and single adults who have never been homeless lose their housing and enter a shelter or find themselves on the streets. No matter how effective services are to help people leave homelessness, reducing homelessness or ending it completely requires stopping these families and individuals from becoming homeless. Policies and activities capable of preventing new cases, often described as "closing the front door" to homelessness, are as important to ending homelessness as services that help those who are already homeless to reenter housing (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2000). Most communities in the
United States offer a range of activities to prevent homelessness. The most widespread activities provide assistance to avert housing loss for households facing eviction. Other activities focus on moments when people are particularly vulnerable to homelessness, such as at discharge from institutional settings (e.g., mental hospitals, jails, and prisons). Given that the causes and conditions of becoming homeless are often multifaceted, communities use a variety of strategies to prevent homelessness. By definition, the intent of prevention is to stop something from happening. The worse the effects of what one is trying to prevent, the more important it is to develop effective prevention strategies, and the more one is willing to accept partial prevention if complete prevention is not possible. Homelessness is a very