The cold and the rain weren’t enough to keep volunteers from providing a myriad of services at Greensboro’s Urban Ministries on Saturday, Jan. 9.
Without proper resources or information, many of Greensboro’s unsheltered community go without health care of any kind.
That is why Cone Health Services, the Greensboro Police Department, NC A&T’s nursing faculty and the Victorious Praise Worship Center teamed up to provide aid for Greensboro’s unsheltered community.
Captain Biffle of the Greensboro Police Department stated that the event is “an opportunity to bring awareness to a community that gets forgotten…it gives [them] a chance to give back to the community.”
Many people offer their volunteer services during the holidays, but afterwards the homeless population, once again, often goes unnoticed.
Biffle also noted that it was a time to really interact with the community and hear concerns voiced that otherwise might have gone unheard.
Partners Ending Homeless estimates that over 600 people in Guilford County are homeless.
In order to cover as much ground and notify as many people as possible, flyers were dispersed amongst many of Greensboro’s unsheltered advocates such as the Interactive Resource Center, the Young Women’s Christian Association and Urban Ministries.
The Greensboro Police Department even sent officers out to spread the word.
This is the third year Greensboro Urban Ministries has held such an event, and every year it seems to grow.
By 10 a.m. the group had already served over 125 people, and the event was advertised to last until at least noon.
The estimated number for total turnout was around 250.
Ron Flack, the administrative coordinator for Moses Cone Health oversees volunteers for free health screenings and services.
Flack has also participated in six other similar projects abroad in Saint Kitts, West Indies where the duration of spans a week rather than one day.
“Our goal, through Cone Health, is to give back to the community,” Flack stated in an interview with WFMY News.
Flack expressed his desire to help make the unsheltered community “healthier, to keep them out of the hospital and to maybe talk about job opportunities.”
Throughout the day, volunteers were stationed in three different rooms: one for health screenings, one for a free lunch and one where attendees were given a bag of clothing along with a package filled with anything from toothpaste to deodorant.
Biffle praised the work of all the volunteers, and discussed the various aspects of the offered services.
The first room, designed to provide health screenings, consisted of measuring blood pressure, taking temperatures and, if needed, dressing wounds.
NC A&T nursing students offered hands-on experience as volunteers for health screenings.
Biffle mentioned the health staff is also available to “answer any medical questions [someone may have] concerns about.”
Some simply attend the event for lunch and a toiletries bag. If someone does not desire to participate in a health screening, he or she is invited to the next room where bagged lunches are provided.
The room where lunch is provided is quite large and also offers the opportunity for chatting and fellowship.
The final room consists of large bags of clothes, largely donated by the Victorious Praise Worship Center.
Attendees are given clothes and often shoes in their sizes accompanied by a care package filled with “basic toiletries, washcloths, wipes, soaps, and a toothbrush. It’s a lot of things that most people take for granted.”
After being serviced in the clothing and care package room, Victorious Praise Worship Center provides private, faith-based counseling for those who desire it.
According to Biffle, anyone can volunteer who has the desire, and there’s always something to help with.
Getting involved is as easy as reaching out to any one of the providers involved in the event.
“Moses Cone Health is really the driving force,” Biffle told The Carolinian, “but there are a lot of opportunities through Urban Ministries themselves to get involved, even if it’s just going through your wardrobe and donating what you don’t use anymore.”