“Some people just need a hand up,” says Francine Lockhart.
It was that philosophy that inspired Francine and her husband, Walter Lockhart, to found the nonprofit Homeless Inc. organization a year ago.
“My husband had worked for the Red Cross for 12 years,” Francine Lockhart explains. “During that time, we always helped homeless people and those who were burned out of their homes, but the Red Cross said that wasn’t its mission, so when Walter retired we decided to open a 501(c)(3) to continue helping people.”
Serving the four-county area of Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Monroe and Summers, Homeless Inc. fills a need that has reached a proportion that would probably shock most local people, Francine Lockhart believes.
“We get at least two or three calls a week asking for assistance,” she says, noting most of those calls come from Greenbrier County.
“If we find someone sleeping under a bridge, we’ll put them in a motel for a night and get them a hot meal,” Lockhart explains. “If a family gets burned out of their home, we can put them up in a motel room for two or three days to give them a chance to make more permanent arrangements.”
Such items as groceries and bed linens are also often on the Homeless Inc. shopping list, with school books and supplies soon to join them.
“We have 170-some students (in Greenbrier County) who are considered homeless,” Lockhart says. “They don’t know for sure where they’re going to spend the night from day to day.”
Lockhart says she and her husband plan to coordinate efforts with the Greenbrier County Board of Education to help provide some of the necessities those students are now doing without.
Sadly, Lockhart doesn’t see the need for her organization’s assistance diminishing any time soon.
“We’ve served quite a few people this year, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing any,” she says, noting the organization relocated two homeless veterans — one of whom was living in a Pocahontas County forest — in November.
“Walter picked (the Pocahontas veteran) up and took him to Blacksburg (Va.),” Lockhart says.
“We’ll help anybody,” she emphasizes. “We’re not prejudiced — drug addicts, alcoholics or whatever. I just hate to think about anybody being left outside in the cold.”
Future plans for Homeless Inc. include the purchase of a house — perhaps one large enough to split into apartments — to provide temporary family housing for people experiencing a run of bad luck.
“If we can find a suitable house, we can offer families a place to live for a week or more,” Lockhart notes. “That will give us time to help them find a job and get back on their feet.”
In order to support their efforts, the Lockharts and other volunteers with the organization have staged several fundraisers during the past year, including working at the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament, manning a concession stand during a local Toughman competition and placing a donation jar at the Greenbrier Valley Mall during the Christmas season.
“We accept donations, and our books are open for all to see,” Lockhart stresses, pointing out the organization is registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.
Volunteers from all four counties served by Homeless Inc. are also welcome.
For more information about the organization or to volunteer, call 304-645-7880. Donations may be sent to Homeless Inc., 322 N. Court St., Lewisburg, WV 24901.
The nonprofit’s website is still under construction.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Local News
- Calendar — Saturday, April 19, 2014
Help sought for Back to School event
Heart of God Ministries will host its 13th annual Back to School Community event from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 2. The theme for the event is “The Gift of Giving.”
Food vendors still sought for International Dinner
Food vendors are still being accepted for the YMCA of Southern West Virginia’s 35th annual International Dinner, where area residents are invited to feast on flavors from all around the world.
Breaking it down: iRaleigh funding will reach $12 million
The total funding requirement for implementing the iRaleigh Initiative will be just over $12 million, according to information from the Raleigh County Board of Education.
Speaker to talk about facing adversity
Nationally known speaker David Ring will speak at 6:30 p.m. May 5 at Sinking Creek Baptist Church.
Changing of the guard at Tamarack
Tamarack’s general manager of 14 years, Cheryl Hartley, has announced her retirement, effective June 14.
Enjoy tastings and interact with artisans at first Arts & Wine Show
The Resort at Glade Springs will host its first-ever Arts & Wine Show April 27th from 2 to 6 p.m. inside Glade’s Italian Grill, 255 Resort Drive, Daniels.
Event to assist farmers to expand their business
The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA), West Virginia State University (WVSU) and Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) will host a free luncheon Tuesday geared toward assisting local farmers and agricultural producers on how to effectively and responsibly expand their businesses.
Churches joining for Way of the Cross
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and St. Luke Evangelical Lutheran Church will have a community service in Uptown Beckley on Saturday, marking the end of Holy Week before Easter celebrations begin.
Kindness from the heart creates a wealth of memories
Three years ago, Mount Hope resident Paula Jones made it her personal goal to see that no area girl sacrificed the opportunity to attend a formal school dance due to her inability to purchase a dress.
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