EATON — In honor of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in Preble County, the HIT Foundation held a fundraising gala on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Eagles Point Gymnasium.
According to organizers, there were more than 150 attendees and the event raised more than $8,000 for hunger and homelessness issues in Preble County. Art which was created by homeless clients was auctioned off during the event, raising almost $3,000 to assist in serving Preble County’s homeless residents.
Speakers for the event included:
•Becky Sorrell, Director of Preble County Job and Family Services. Sorrell has worked in almost every department at Preble County Job and Family Services during her 28-year career, becoming director of the agency in 2009. Sorrell is passionate about helping others find appropriate resources and support so they can live their very best lives. She is an assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 280 in Eaton, and a member of Wares Chapel United Methodist Church. She lives in Eldorado with her husband Larry, son Brad, and Foxy, “the most amazing dog on the planet.” Larry and Becky also have two adult children, Dustin and Carley, and four grandchildren.
Becky discussed Preble County’s statistics concerning hunger in Preble County as shown by the numbers of individuals needing and utilizing food stamps.
•Michelle Riley, Director Dayton Foodbank, has been with the Foodbank for six years and has diligently worked to grow the agency during her tenure. Riley was previously the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Programs at the YWCA Dayton. Holding a Master of Science degree in teaching, she has been active in the Dayton community since her days as the Assistant Principal for Orville Wright Elementary. Riley is a graduate of the Leadership Dayton class of 2011 and has received numerous awards for her work, including: Feeding America Network Leader of the Year Award, Dayton Daily News Top 10 Women of the Year, and YWCA Dayton Woman of Influence 2017.
Riley discussed the community hunger issues and how food banks help address that need.
•Maurice Young, Homeless Advocate, has been living in homelessness for 8 years. He is a leading activist to eliminate the criminalization of homelessness and actively homeless himself, advocates daily for the fair and equal treatment for those who call the streets home. Young collaborates with many groups, agencies and organizations to meet the ongoing basic needs of those entering into homelessness together with those underserved within the homeless community. Young’s personal efforts, homeless initiatives and community partnerships have been validated and recognized by three renown documentaries, seven film festival wins (including a Best Picture), a 2014 Emmy Award and a prestigious Ted Talk.