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Homeless for the Holidays Part 2
Every year millions of Americans are forced out onto the streets.
It's a problem most every city and state in America faces, and here in central Nebraska is no different.
Tonight in his special report, "Homeless for the Holidays" News 5's Curt Casper shows us some of the local organizations trying to make a difference here at home.
"When you see a face changed because of something in their life and be apart of that change, there is nothing like it," said Jerry Bumgardner.
Jerry Bumgardner is the director of Crossroads in Hastings. It's only been open for 5 years but has touched hundreds of lives.
"A lot of people think that it can't happen to them and it happens in a day, especially with the economy we are in right now," said Bumgardner.
With the changing economy, these faces continue to grow.
"They have done a job that they have done forever and now they can't get a job anymore and must change what they are doing," said Bumgardner.
"It's a natural outcome of a recession, people loss their jobs, hours are cut back at work and both cause income to fall," Hastings College Economist Dr. Douglas Kinnear.
This can make it difficult for someone to take care of their basic needs, like shelter and food.
"How do you support a whole family where you have to do something else for a living because you can't do it anymore?" Bumgardner said.
Through their mission statement, to bring glory to god through helping people. Crossroads works to do just that. Help.
"We get them the help they need and get them back out," said Bumgardner.
But recently, the help has become harder to give. Last year at Christmas, Crossroads hit their max, they ran out of beds. This year its not even Christmas and the beds are getting full.
"How can you tell someone who has nowhere to go and no family that we don't have room?" said Bumgardner.
While some organizations help here in the heartland. Other organizations help at home and abroad.
"It's just gratifying to know that you are helping people out there who do not have everything," said Arlene Doremus, Orphan Grain Train.
The Orphan Grain train in Grand Island, collects clothing, household items, and anything that can be shipped to people in different countries in need.
"I wonder what they are going to feel like when they take this stuffed animal hold them in their arms and say this is nice, when they have never had a toy in their lives," Doremus said.
The group sent more than 40 boxes to Haiti after the earthquake thanks to a lot of donations.
"Once you get into it, you can't help yourself. You just keep going and going," said Doremus.
When the orphan grain train opened in February, they didn't expect the abundance of donations that they currently have. There is over 1800 boxes in this section alone. This is enough to fill an entire semi that could go to another country.
Last month alone volunteer Marge Peterson spent 39 hours cleaning and packaging used clothes.
"You hope that people around the world will think of Americans as generous people, as caring people," said Peterson.
Last year, Peterson took a trip the Baltic's in Russia. While there she was shocked to see how appreciative the needy were to receive just something.
"Tell the Americans ho much we appreciate this. Tell them not to forget us. We appreciate your help and they really do. I saw that with my own eyes and nothing can beat it," Peterson said.
Both Crossroads and the Orphan Grain Train are looking for expansions after reaching capacities. Crossroads is in the process of opening a homeless shelter in Kearney.
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