EATON — Home is the Foundation (HIT Foundation) held its second Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Gala on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
The event featured Ambassador, former Congressman and Director for the Alliance to End Hunger Tony Hall, and Dan Foley, Montgomery County Commissioner. All proceeds benefited the HIT Foundation Homeless Services Program.
The HIT Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization formed to meet the critical shortage of affordable housing options in rural Preble County. The foundation owns several rental properties in Preble County which provide affordable housing to low-income families.
According to HIT Foundation staff, they are advocates for families who need a decent place to live, which is why they are always looking for opportunities to positively impact affordable housing issues in Preble County.
HIT has three main service lines: Residential Services, Homeless Services, and the Senior Home Repair Program.
In January of 2018, there were 36 homeless people counted in Preble County. In 2017, the HIT Foundation provided emergency shelter to 65 Preble County residents. HIT’s 10-bed facility has remained full most nights since opening in 2015 and operates off a waiting list.
Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at time, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate food. In 2017, there were 5,110 food insecure people in Preble County, which is 12.3 percent of the population.
Lisa Noble, a member of the HIT Foundation Board of Directors, announced the winners of the school Hunger and Homelessness Essay Contest.
Tony Hall has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. He is a leading advocate for hunger relief programs and improving human rights in the world. He is also the Founder of the Hall Hunger Imitative (HHI) in Dayton and serves as Executive Director Emeritus of the Alliance to End Hunger. He is one of the founding members of the Dayton-Montgomery County Food and Hunger Coalition.
He also served as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, Italy. He previously represented the Third District of Ohio in the U.S. Congress for 24 years – their longest servicing representative in history. He event fasted for 22 days to draw attention to the needs of the hungry people in the United States and around the world.
“I had the chance to meet Mother Teresa a number of times. I think she was probably the greatest person in the 20th century. When I first met her she grabbed my hand and she didn’t ask my name or where I was from. She grabbed my hand and took my five fingers and said, ‘Always remember, for the least of these.’ I thought that was very interesting, that’s from the New Testament,” Hall said.
“Then, we walked in a very densely populated area. There was a man laying on the street there and I must have said something to Mother Teresa like, ‘I’m not sure I can even take care of this block.’ There must have been three or four thousand people in that street.
“She didn’t say anything, but she had some men pick up that man who looked like he was dead. She had them take the man back to her hostel and she cleaned him up. She came back to me later in the day and she said, ‘Not everybody can help like you. Why don’t you go back to America and tell them to ‘do the thing that is in front of them.’
“Do the thing that is in front of you. That is going on with your neighbor, your friend, and at your church. I think what she was saying to me is, if everyone just did the thing that was in front of them probably half the stuff would be done, because people would take care of it.”
Foley has focused his attention on growing the number of jobs, including efforts to land new logistic employers, advance manufacturers, and the new building by General Electric and Emerson Climate Technologies. He serves as co-chair of the Community Overdose Action Team, trying to stem the surge of people dying from opiate abuse.
“We know that one person can make a difference, but when one well-intentioned person motivates other people — like the people in this room — that can fill long term gaps in communities. We want to thank you for being a part of that,” Foley said. “In Preble County and in Montgomery County, we know that the main cause of homelessness is poverty and a lack of affordable housing.
“The solutions are really very similar [in Preble and Montgomery County] and they are things the HIT Foundation is already doing. They are things like making sure there is Emergency Shelter in place, so if someone falls into homelessness they can go to that shelter and get accessed and into housing. Establish recovering houses. Increase the amount of stable and affordable places to live.”
Event sponsors included: Title Sponsor Henny Penny; Hope Sponsor Bullen Ultrasonics; Community Sponsors Miami Valley Community Action Partnership and Grandview Medical Center; Neighbor Sponsors Freedom 1st Credit Union and Shelter Heating and Cooling, LLC; and Friend Sponsors Lawn Plus, Opti-vise IT, Mental Health and Recovery Board, Public Health Preble County, TimkenSteel, Edward Jones, Samaritan Behavioral Health, YWCA of Dayton, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, Preble County Chamber of Commerce, and Michael Murphy Insurance.
There are three different ways to help with the hunger and homelessness issues in Preble County.
•Food preparation: the Emergency Homeless Shelter has a warming kitchen only and the Cold Shelter moves from place-to-place. They rely on community churches, organizations, and individuals to prepare dinners daily.
•Donations: all programs in Preble County that touch hunger and homelessness can benefit from donations — both monetary and supplies. For more information on donating, contact Laura at 937-472-0500 ext. 401.
•Volunteer: volunteers are always needed in Preble County — from supervisors for the Cold Shelter to help at the local pantry.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH