HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Free food and coats were available for those in need Monday at Vernon Dahmer Park in Hattiesburg for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies held the “Thanksgiving Takeaway” event.
Demetra Bates Smith, the housing coordinator for the institute, explains the importance of the program.
“This is important because we want to bring awareness to national hunger and homelessness as well as get rid of any stereotype or stigma that people may have about the homeless population and those that are in need,” Smith said.
Donie Perkins made his way to Vernon Dahmer Park for his meal and coat.
“It’s actually good because they’re giving back to the community. Actually, helping out the homeless and uplifting everybody’s spirit,” Perkins said.
Smith said she will continue to bring help to communities that are in need.
“I go to the national hunger and homelessness website, and I look at things that they are doing and just say, ‘Hey, how can I model those things and bring it back to the Pine Belt area?’ By looking at what’s going on in different areas, engaging our numbers and seeing how we can be a better service within our community,” Smith said.
Hygiene products were also available for those who needed them.
The event was from noon until 2 p.m.