In 2021, LKNConnect will feature outstanding non-profits and service organizations in the Lake Norman community. Margi Kyle, Director of Non-Profits at LKNConnect and Founder of Little Smiles NC, will be sharing these great organizations with you. — EH Stafford, Managing Editor

 

 

Homelessness in NC

In January 2019, North Carolina had an estimated 9,314 homeless individuals. As reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there were 767 families, 907 veterans, and 417 unaccompanied young adults. Many factors contribute to homelessness, including lack of public assistance, domestic violence, mental illness, addiction, and hardships. These are just a few. These statics are staggering. Now, imagine the impact inflicted by the pandemic.

 

Watchmen of the Streets

Watchmen of the Streets, a Christian non-profit, has been serving our local homeless population since 2009. Their mission is to GO to where needs exist, serving homeless individuals and youth. They LOVE and ACCEPT people where they are. Volunteers have no agenda, which helps establish trust. With solid friendships established, volunteers begin to share the love of Christ. They CONNECT individuals with resources, with aid, and with God. These connections create confidence, hope, and opportunities. This rekindles desires and positive emotions they once lost.

 

The people and their needs

The Watchmen of the Streets volunteers locate people living under bridges, on streets, and in encampments around the Lake Norman area. Those homeless men, women, and children spend anxious days in fear, wondering about their next meal. They do not know how they will stay warm, dry, or even safe. Volunteers ease their pain by handing out basic items such as food, clothing, and bedding. These items are all donated by members of the community. Choplin’s restaurant in Cornelius, NC, hosts “Luke 14 Banquets” twice each month. The restaurant serves a mouthwatering three-course meal to those living on the streets.

 

What you can do to help

The Exchange Club of Mooresville/Lake Norman is also championing the Watchmen of the Streets initiative. In honor of the National Exchange Club’s 110th Anniversary, our local club’s Community Service Committee is holding “A Watchmen Collection.” Exchange Club members will be in the parking lot of Alino Pizzeria on Saturday, March 27 from 10am-12pm. We are asking the community to donate the following items:

  • Canned tuna or chicken
  • Chef Boyardee (pop-top cans)
  • Individual packed crackers or cookies
  • Bottled water
  • AA or AAA batteries
  • Heavy-duty tarps
  • Small green propane cans
  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags
  • Gift cards to Academy Sports, Walmart, Target, and local grocery stores

 

How can you get involved?

If you would like to get involved with Watchmen of the Streets and become a Homeless Advocate, please:

  • Make and donate homeless care packages
  • Make and donate quilts, scarves, or gloves
  • Hold a Homeless Item Donation Drive
  • Host a fundraiser
  • Visit a homeless camp and initiate relationships

Empathy, compassion, and hope are inherent desires, along with being loved without judgement. To live without judgement regardless of our race, gender, or social status seems like a simple-yet-complex request. The homeless in our area are sons, daughters, moms, dads, and grandparents. In some cases, a support system is nonexistent. In other cases, lack of education is an issue. Additionally, highly educated individuals or veterans have fallen between the cracks and have become homeless. Regardless of how or what the circumstances, most want to regain their independence. Watchmen of the Streets and our community can support them in this opportunity.

 

Photos courtesy of Katie Stankiewicz

 

 

Katie Stankiewicz is the founder of Willow Equine and executive director of Soul to Soles Connection.

The Exchange Club of Mooresville / Lake Norman is a civic organization, who works to create a strong and united community. They have been serving the Lake Norman area for over 30 years, with a focus on Americanism, Community Service, Prevention of Child Abuse and Youth. If you or anyone you know have been looking for a way to connect and give back, join the club! 

Go to our website at https://mooresvillelknexchange.org/ for more information. Select “Join the Club” under the ‘Menu’ section for an member application. You can also email the club through the Contact Us’ menu selection. 

 

 

If you know of a non-profit organization that you would like featured …

Contact Margi Kyle, at mkyle@lknconnect.com.

 

 

 

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed by our writers belong solely to them
and do not represent LKNConnect.com, its publisher or its staff.