To recognize this week, the Scioto County Homeless Shelter is hosting its annual Homeless Rally on Wednesday, at the shelter on Eighth Street.
In the past, the shelter had the Grate American Sleep-Out, named after the grates found on the streets of bigger cities where people would stand to stay warm. As the years went by, the crowd became smaller, and then about five years ago the shelter dropped it in favor of a rally.
“The focus of the week's events is just to heighten awareness and generate concern for homelessness,” said Maureen Cadogan, of the Scioto County Homeless Shelter.
She said the rally always takes place the week before Thanksgiving when it's often very cold, and during the event guests are asked to remove their coats for a moment to feel the cold air around them and imagine living like that all day, every day.
“We want people to understand, even though we're going to be doing it symbolically, there are some people that don't have a choice,” Cadogan said.
During the week, the shelter is asking that all families place two-cents into a jar, each time they sit down to eat, and then bring whatever they've collected to the shelter at the end of the week.
Friday, Nov. 16, is also “Skip a Meal Day,” and the shelter asks people to pack a lunch that day, instead of buying one. People are asked to donate that money instead to the shelter.
“A lot of people are hand-to-mouth, and by that I mean you get your checks, and you pay your bills. If you miss one check, you're thrust into homelessness. It's a condition that can happen to anyone at any given time,” Cadogan said.
The annual Homeless Rally will be Nov. 14, on the front porch of the shelter at 615 Eighth St., in Portsmouth, from 7-8 p.m.