Project Homeless Connect is an event held each January by the Community Action Program for Central Arkansas, It’s supported by many non-profits, businesses, organizations, and community members.
To raise awareness about the event and the homelessness issue our community faces the group holds a 30 day “Change the World” challenge which starts November 1.
He quickly assured me it wasn’t a problem and said, 'are you kidding, I throw papers for a living.' I told him, 'no way, you deliver papers from your bike?' Richard proudly beamed '7 days a week, rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine, just like the postman.' I was amazed and am still amazed a year later.
We see Richard once a month when he comes to the pantry for food. His meager pay from delivering newspapers isn’t enough to pay for housing, utilities, medicine, and food. At times he has a roommate to help pay rent but even with that, his paycheck isn’t enough to survive on in Conway. So he visits local food pantries to sustain himself. These pantries allow him to use his money to keep a roof over his head.
Richard is just a step away from falling back into homelessness at any given moment. If he gets sick or hurt then he can’t work. He delivers newspapers 7 days a week. One missed day is the difference between paying rent and being on the street again. He works hard. He pedals for miles and miles every day. Richard’s paper route takes him out of town, down busy roads and through flooded streets during heavy rains. A couple of months ago Richard came into the pantry with his pants all rolled up and secured with rubber bands. He told one of the volunteers that Conway’s streets were flooded and he was trying to keep his pants dry while he threw papers. He said 'a couple of times the water was rushing and I just couldn’t pedal through it. I had to get off and push, but I finished my route.'
This man is so resilient even when life is truly giving him lemons. We saw him recently and he broke down into tears. The place he has been renting became inundated with black mold and he lost everything that he owned. Richard has been trying to find an affordable place to live but there just are not very many low-income housing options in Conway.
He is afraid he is going to have to move back to western Arkansas where he came from several years ago. He doesn’t want to go back there; he doesn’t want to go back to that life. You see he came to Conway seeking a better life, a sustainable life.
--Laura King, Conway Ministry Center [09/08/2017]
The THV11 morning crew is going to participate in this challenge. This means Laura Monteverdi, Tom Brannon, Rob Evans and Amanda Jaeger will each have their own jar.
Will you join them and take the challenge?
Click BELOW for a printable challenge calendar.
The main idea behind the challenge is to raise awareness and have you think about what it’s like for the homeless in our area.
You may also contact Melissa Allen at 501-269-9351 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jema Quintana at 501-697-6034 or at email@example.com
CAPCA said at the end of the 30 day challenge if there is another organization in Arkansas that deals with homelessness that you are passionate about, feel free to give the funds to them.
Share your experience with us; photos, videos, etc. Just use the hashtag #BeOn11.
Check out this story about Little Rock trying new tactics to reduce homelessness.