A story of compassion for McComb's most vunerable.
If you ever have the chance to sit down with Sarah Connerly (Greater Hope Homeless Shelter founder and owner) you might be amazed to hear the compassionate stories of her guests.
Recently, at the fundraiser Farmers for Greater Hope an elderly gentleman walked down the street with his newspaper tucked under his arm. He saw Sarah and she greeted him excitedly and they exchanged happy updates on how things were.
My assumption, he was a friend. Nice guy. Enjoying the beautiful day and on his way for a walk to find a place to enjoy his newspaper. And yes, he was all those things.
Later, after the event I would sit down with Sarah and we would talk about misconceptions. I ask about the misconceptions I have heard or read about such as “get a job like the rest of us”.
Sarah answers my question with a real life example of who can be homeless.
“Jollean, you remember that elderly man that walked by us today? The one with the newspaper?”
“Yes”. I reply.
Sarah continues, “He is 72 year old. He stayed here for a short time when he was kicked out of his apartment. And let me tell you, he did not want to be here. He told me everyday ‘I am 72 years old, I don’t belong in no homeless shelter’. He had nowhere to go. He spent every day going through his newspaper to look for a place to stay. Got up each day to look for places. We helped him store some of his furniture and belongings”.
Sarah did not ask why he was kicked out of his apartment, her role is not to judge. Her immediate focus is on his need in that moment for a roof over his head.
The majority of people grow up knowing a roof over our head. May not be the prettiest roof but having shelter is usually a norm. Now imagine, a moment in your life that takes away that norm and how you might feel.
No washroom to run to.
No place to hide from rain.
No cooking space.
No electrical outlets to plug something in.
No bed to sleep soundly on behind walls that make you feel secure.
It would be terrifying!
In Mississippi almost 1200 people experience homelessness a day.
There can be many reasons for homelessness. A google search will present you with a plethora of stats that give you a picture of who is most vulnerable.
Sarah has already seen this first hand and without the stats will tell you.
Young, single males with no family support system.
Mental & physical disabilities.
Those battling with addictions.
Her story of the elderly gentleman is a great example of why places like Greater Hope need to exist. Transitional homeless makes up the largest reason for the need for shelter. Working poor or those living with incomes with no free cash flow, often have to choose between paying the rent and eating. Or paying the light bill this month vs paying what is owed on the rent. Eventually, it catches up to them and then leaves them in a situation where they are in the short term, homeless.
Greater hope is filling a gap that exists in McComb and surrounding area and throughout the United States to provide transitional shelter for those in their moment of need. She is preventing the most vulnerable from sleeping under bridges and slipping even farther down the path of desperation.
What happened to her 72 year old guest? Well, he is back to living on his own. Within 2 weeks he found a home. He was like most people, determined not to be homeless, he just needed a hand.
We all need a hand now and then. Some of us are blessed with large families, maybe an above average job or maybe both. But at some point in our life we will all need a hand with something. Greater Hope Homeless Shelter is offering a hand to those who have nowhere else to turn.
Sarah cannot do it alone and is always in search of help.
Volunteer, donate and advocate for public services that help those transition from poverty to independence.
To learn more about Sarah and the story of Greater Hope Homeless Shelter visit here or visit her website Greater Hope Homeless Shelter
To donate to the shelter visit here.
As always folks, be friendly. Be kind!
Thanks for reading.
We are excited to announce the 2020 charities that Smith “Nature Friendly” Farm will support by donating .10 cents from every dollar made* at the farm in 2020.
For most of 2020 we expect that most of the money we earn will be through the communities of McComb and Brookhaven. For that reason we will continue to support local charities this year. We have a huge goal to earn outside of our local community so we can expand to a nature friendly north american charity.
Our three charities for 2020 are:
Central MS Turtle Rescue
This is a fabulous couple who work tirelessly to help injured and sick turtles. Their operations are 100% publicly funded. Not to mention they are some incredibly kind people. We will be long time supporters of Central MS Turtle Rescue as they are doing work that is so incredible kind to nature which aligns with our values 100%.
Brookhaven Animal Rescue (B.A.R.L.)
BARL is a great organization out of Brookhaven that takes in stray dogs and cats and helps them find forever homes. This will be our second year donating to BARL both with cash and with volunteer time. At Smith’s “Nature Friendly” Farm many of our dogs are rescues, so this is near and dear to us.
Greater Hope Ministry
This is new this year but if you saw our post on the work that Sarah Connerly is doing to help the unemployed homeless in McComb you will know how great her need is. She is a retired nurse funding the development of her own unemployed homeless shelter. Make sure to check that post out, her story is remarkable.
How it works:
.10 cents from every dollar made during 2020 will be set aside and then split between the three organizations. This includes any products sold on our farm stand, through deliveries, at farmers markets or online. Should we get to a place on YouTube where we earn money there, this too would be added to the donation pool to be shared between the 3 above charities.
*The only caveat to the donations are if we purchase a product to sell, then donations would only be collected on the profit part. Example: We buy pinwheels from a company at $1.00 a piece, then we sell them for $1.25 each. The charities would earn donations on the .25 (the profit after the cost of the item). This ensures the cost of the product is paid off.
We want to be perfectly transparent. We are a business and we are very committed to growing our business to make it profitable.Not to be rich but to be able to continue to sustain nature friendly farming. Being charitable is very important to me as a person, so I wanted to make charity a big part of our business model, so we are always giving back. If we grow, we can grow what we donate and that only motivates me to work harder. Someday, I hope to be handing over some very big checks. But businesses are expensive and take a long time to grow. Ideally though, in the long run those charities will see some benefits if we work hard. That’s the goal anyways.
We will also continue to support St. Andrews Mission of McComb with volunteer hours where possible as well as food donations to support their food hamper program. We love the work that they do at St.Andrews so we will do what we can to help them.
For anyone who supports our business in 2020, I thank you in advance for helping us give back. Your dollars will equate to bags of dog food, turtle food or bed sheets for the homeless.
Looking forward to a fantastic 2020 season. Thank you so much for being here with us!
We would love it if you would connect with us:
Be friendly. Be kind. Take care.