Groups provide service to homeless for MLK Day - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Groups provide service to homeless for MLK Day

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

 LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Police Jury, Office of Community Services, Medical Reserve Corps and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program are spending the day leading more than twenty local residents in helping the homeless today.  It's their way of commemorating the 2010 Martin Luther King Junior Day of Service.

The organizations have joined to set up the day of service at Abraham's tent.  Volunteers are taking blood pressure, doing medical screenings, providing health education and giving out basic necessities to the homeless to help them make it through the winter. 

MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR'S LEGACY GOES BEYOND CIVIL RIGHTS. IN KEEPING WITH HIS IDEALS THERESA SCHMIDT REPORTS TODAY WAS A DAY OF SERVICE TO THE HOMELESS.

Abraham's Tent is a place those in need of a hot meal can come to eat.  Michelle Guidry with the Calcasieu Office of Community Services says, " We want to keep his dream alive. We're going to service the community, we're going to help our fellow man. And we're going to do whatever it takes to get by in this economy."

Fifty seven year old Cherry White has been homeless for about seven years now.  "I started drinking real heavy and that was my main reason why I couldn't hold a job like I was supposed to."  It would be bad enough being homeless any time of year.  But during cold winter months it's especially hard.  Says White, "When you're sleeping out at night it's kind of cold. That's why I came here to try to get some blankets I sleep under bridges. If it's raining I have to sleep under a bridge so I don't get wet."

Five months ago Tony Bryan lost his job.  He and his wife Melissa now live in a pickup truck." When we lost our house we lost our kids too. We didn't have a home for them to live in."  He says having a felony conviction in his past makes it even harder to find work.  "I'm willing to work. I'm a hard worker. I have a wife and kids to support. IT just seems like everybody's against us. When we're down everybody's kicking us in the head."

Yet volunteers with Calcasieu Office of Community Services and other groups are here on MLK Day to try to help.  Says Volunteer Ernesteen Valere, "He wants us to help other people and we can do that at all times but we put a little bit more emphasis on today."  Adds Americorps volunteer Adrienne Clark, " We just want to keep his legacy up by sacrificing our time and coming to the Abraham's Tent Shelter and doing as much as we can for our community."

And so if only for a day the homeless came here where they could get supplies, a blood pressure check, a warm blanket and maybe a little hope for the future.  Groups participating also included Retired Senior Volunteers, Calcasieu Medical Reserve Corps and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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