Eurekans honor Homeless Persons' Memorial Day
EUREKA, Calif. - On Wednesday night, a group of Eurekans gathered at the Old Town gazebo to hand out hot drinks, meals and blankets as a way to remember their fallen brother and sisters on Homeless Person's Memorial Day.
Local homeless activist Vernon Price was there to hand out meals and to remember those who have been lost.
"We light candles in remembrance to those who lost their lives this past year," Price said. "And it is set forth to remember those that are homeless or formerly homeless that have fallen to death, due to violence, due to cold, due to whatever elements."
Price noted that there is a disconnect between the homeless community and people who are not personally affected.
Chante Cat, the president of Homeless Student Advocate Alliance, said homelessness affects people indiscriminately. Cat, who works with college students without a home, and she said at least 15 percent of Humboldt State Students have experienced not having a home since starting college.
"Every study that I've seen, homelessness is not going to get better, so if we don't start to humanize it now, we're in a lot of trouble," said Cat.
The group gathered at the gazebo had also gathered donations of warm clothes and blankets for those in need. Sarah Torres, a human rights activist, said there is a dire need for these items, shelter space is limited and some people will spend the night outside, in the cold.
"Women's shelter or men's shelter is not sufficient, Betty Chinn's containers is not sufficient, and there's still countless amounts of people out in the cold, it was freezing last night, there was definitely frost," Torres said.
The director of Eureka Rescue Mission, Bryan Hall, said their shelters are packed.
"We filled up our men's shelter and our women's shelter, it is pretty full right now," reported Hall.
Hall said to make space they've had to open their cafeteria for overnight stays.
"We are using our new facility here for sleeping at night time so our numbers have been 80s and 90s in the men side so it was over 100 or 130 each evening especially on the cold, cold nights," said Hall.
He added the mission can also use help in form of warm blankets and canned foods. Hall said the mission serves over 8,000 meals each month, something Price said is crucial in order for people to feel like humans.
Price said, "When you have a meal and being able to break bread with fellow men, it adds humanity."