By Amanda Herndon
Driving through Walterboro (or any other community) these days, you can’t help but notice the significant increase in the number of homeless people. Not every one of them, but most, deal with a combination of mental illness and drug addiction. They are acutely aware that most people think of them as a public nuisance, consider them criminals, or worse. Sometimes homelessness is an improvement over circumstances that they come from.
The Walterboro Police Department spends an exorbitant amount of time, effort, and resources dealing with the homeless.
Officers interact with the homeless every day. Business owners call because the homeless sit in front of their stores, which can affect customer volume and directly affect profit margins.
Plainly put, people won’t go to places and spend money where they don’t feel safe.
Citizens call and report erratic behavior, or a person doing something that most people would consider unsafe. The police department must enforce laws and local ordinances, as well as offer care for those in need of it.
One of the main goals of the police department is to help make Walterboro a safe, inviting place to live, work, and invest in. Maintaining good professional relationships is important to the success of any organization. With that in mind, the police department has partnered with In His Name-Colleton to address the epidemic of homelessness in Walterboro and Colleton County. They work together to meet short term needs of the homeless, such as decent clean clothes, a shower, or just something to eat. Once the short-term goals are met, the ministry can begin to look at long-term goals of transitioning the person into a more permanent residence, and eventually achieving self dependence.
The volunteers at In His Name-Colleton sometimes determine that the person would be better off being around family who can help support their progress. To help facilitate this effort, bus tickets are occasionally purchased to help the person get where they need to be. Officers from the police department usually drive the person to the bus terminal in North Charleston, as the ministry doesn’t have a vehicle. A local business owner, Jimmy Syfrett of Lowcountry Collision, has donated money to the city to help with the cost of bus tickets and transportation for the homeless.
In His Name-Colleton has a monthly fundraiser called “Luncheon”. The volunteers of the ministry prepare lunch once a month and deliver it to local businesses. Some businesses use it as a method of providing lunch for their employees and to donate and help the community. The next Luncheon is October 7th.
All financial donations to In His Name-Colleton are tax deductible. The volunteers of In His Name-Colleton have an unwavering commitment to live out the principles found in Matthew 25:40, but they are limited by the amount of financial support that is given.
With In His Name-Colleton and Walterboro Police Department working together, they are able to combine their resources and effort to improve the quality of life for the homeless. If you or your organization are interested in joining with them in this effort, please contact In His Name-Colleton at 843-217-5661 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also stop by In His Name-Colleton’s office Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 9:00am - 12:00pm at 214 Wichman Street Walterboro.