â€œHomelessness is a year-round issue, not only during the cold winter months,â€ Susan Hutcherson said.
Hutcherson serves as both co-chair of the fundraising committee for Hesed House of Hope, the countyâ€™s only homeless shelter, and on the organizationâ€™s board of directors.
Area residents have the opportunity to support the shelter this Tuesday by participating in Hesed Houseâ€™s second â€œBowls of Hopeâ€ fundraising event. The shelter first held the event in 2009, raising nearly $3,000, Hutcherson said.
She wants the community to understand the serious dangers associated with homelessness and not dismiss the label as insignificant.
â€œPeople can die any time of the year due to the elements and weather conditions,â€ she said.
Through â€œBowls of Hope,â€ residents donate $10 apiece and receive a hot, homemade meal of chili or soup along with a drink and dessert. In addition, local artist Robert Hovis has hand-sculpted each bowl out of indigenous county clay.
While shelter authorities are looking forward to collecting additional money through this weekendâ€™s unique fundraiser, more than anything, Hutcherson said she hopes the event will unite the community and make people aware of those who are less fortunate.
â€œThe goal is to bring people together in Lincoln County to see the need to outreach to those who are less fortunate than ourselves,â€ Hutcherson said.Â â€œWe can and should be volunteering to do what we can to help struggling individuals and families get back on their feet during these economic times.â€
Hutcherson said Lincoln County is a â€œblessed communityâ€ that needs to be â€œa blessing to others.â€
â€œFood and shelter are basic necessities,â€ she said. â€œWe must be the change we want others to see â€¦The mission is to blend our collective hearts as one to shelter and feed those in need.â€
The local soup kitchen serves nearly 150 residents daily, but Hutcherson said the numbers arenâ€™t an accurate count of just how many homeless live in the area.
â€œWhat about the ones who donâ€™t go to the soup kitchen?â€ she said. â€œThere is really no way to have an exact count.â€
â€œBowls of Hopeâ€ will be 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday at Freedom Church, located at 125 E. Main Street in Lincolnton.
Hesed House, located at 100 Ann Gaither Ct. in Lincolnton, is open seven nights a week.