Homeless Authority Organizing Volunteers To Help Homeless, Partnering with Goodwill

Savannah’s Homeless Authority is looking for a few good men and women. John Miller, Vice Chair of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless and a former homeless services & shelter operator, has issued a call for volunteers to help staff not only Homeless Authority efforts, but to help other organizations that work with the homeless and less advantaged in Savannah.

“This is a crucial time for this community and the various groups we are trying to help,” Miller said. “The demands are greater than they have ever been, and the resources are at their lowest. While needs have grown geometrically, budgets are stretched more than ever, and most are working with skeleton staffs.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Savannah’s Homeless Authority has an immediate need for masks, non-medical PPE, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, and other personal items. Volunteers are needed provide a variety of supporting services to vulnerable homeless individuals.

Goodwill Southeast Georgia is partnering to collect these critically needed items. Donated items for the Homeless Authority are being accepted at the Sallie Mood, Eisenhower, McAlpin Square, Wilmington Island, and Pooler store donation doors from 10 am to 6 pm 7 days a week.

Donations will be placed directly into segregated donation bins and then delivered to the Homeless Authority. All Goodwill Donation Centers have a no-contact donation process to accommodate social distancing.

Goodwill will also provide materials to volunteers making masks as part of this effort. A bag of t-shirts and/or sheets will be given to the first 50 sewing volunteers in need of materials to make masks. The bags will be distributed on Wednesday, April 22, from 10am to noon, at the Goodwill Donation Center at 7220 Sallie Mood Drive. Just Pop the Trunk and Goodwill staff will put the bag of materials into the volunteers’ cars. Completed masks must be washed and placed into plastic bags before returning them to a Goodwill Donation Center.

Donations of needed items can also be dropped off at Savannah Fire Departments, Police stations and the Homeless Authority tent outside DFCS building on Wheaton Street.

The Homeless Authority has recently set up hand washing stations for those who are homeless at several locations.

“All of these organizations have existed for years through the generosity of mostly elderly volunteers who became the lifeblood of almost every endeavor,” Miller said. “But the COVID- 19 virus threatens elderly and those who have medical issues, so they have been unable to continue their efforts at a time they are most needed. “At the same time, younger, healthier members of our population have found themselves unable to return to work and I believe many of them would be willing to join hands with community organization staff members to help those who are unable to help themselves.”

Under Miller’s leadership, the Homeless Authority is also issuing a call for volunteers to help staff efforts to help house and feed homeless residents, many of whom are trapped in makeshift camps and substandard buildings that present strong challenges to hygiene, what scientists advise is the most helpful weapon against the spread of the virus.

Miller’s confidence that a volunteer workforce can be recruited is based on his experience as Executive Director of a homeless services and shelter operator in Key West, Fl. Members of the public can join the volunteer force by sending an email to CSHomelessAuthority@gmail.com. The information that will be needed is: Name, Email, Phone, Age, Availability, Access to a Car, Volunteering Interest, Special Abilities & Limitations. John Miller, another volunteer or a staff member will contact volunteers directly about their availability, interests and abilities. If you have friends that also might be interested, please pass this information along to them.

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