Helping homeless to answer: “Where do I find help?” and helping all New Yorkers to answer: “How can I help the homeless?”
Since January 2009, the “Don’t Walk By” campaign has mobilized more than 4,200 volunteers who have engaged more than 3,200 homeless men, women and children on the streets of Manhattan. Nearly 1,300 homeless individuals have returned to a church for a meal and other services, and more than 300 have left the streets that very night.
On Saturday, February 4, 2012, 2:30-7:30pm, at Bethel Gospel Assembly Church (2-26 East 120th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues) more than 300 volunteers will gather to walk every block of Upper Manhattan as part of the four-week “Don’t Walk By” campaign. The goal is to offer every homeless person on the streets of Manhattan the chance to change their life.
Volunteers will gather at 2:30pm for registration and training on specific ways to help the homeless. From 4:30-7:30pm, teams of six volunteers each will hit the streets, prepared with a map of their assigned area, as well as blankets and essential hygiene and winter items. Volunteers will engage each homeless person they encounter and invite that person back to Bethel Church for a meal.
Other volunteers will offer additional services at the church, such as clothing and professional medical care. In addition, representatives of various residential programs will invite guests to the opportunity of safe shelter for the night.
Brian Johansson, Vice President of The Bowery Mission and one of the founding leaders of “Don’t Walk By,” says, “These volunteers and organizations are driven by a common goal: To make sure that no one suffers on the streets of New York City in the winter, and to see that each person gets a chance for a new life.”
“Don’t Walk By” is a cooperative effort of eight faith-based organizations: American Bible Society, Betel America, The Bowery Mission, Hope For New York, New York City Relief, New York City Rescue Mission, Street Life Ministries, and Streetlight Mission. By pooling their resources, these eight organizations have mobilized this first-of-its-kind campaign for four consecutive winters.
The strategy is based on the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan chose not to walk by a man who was in trouble on the side of the road, but instead used his resources to get man to a place of community and help.
Media are welcome to attend the training and to accompany street outreach teams.
Outreaches will continue each Saturday in February on the following schedule:
Saturday, February 11 – West Side Calvary Baptist Church, 123 West 57th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues
Saturday, February 18 – Downtown Oversea Chinese Mission Church, 154 Hester Street, at Elizabeth Street
Saturday, February 25 – East Side Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921 Madison Avenue, at East 73rd Street
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