On March 1st a group of 20 Savannah Christians teamed up with the City of Savannah and 60+ other volunteers to clean up two of the homeless camps in downtown Savannah. Savannah has a relatively high population of homeless for many reasons including mild weather, access to major interstates (many are stopping on their way up or down the East coast) and a network of organizations that offer services to the homeless both government and non-government funded.
You may not realize this but there are actually 20 Homeless camps around our city. Some are much smaller than others. Most are surprisingly organized and some even have elected ‘mayors’ and leaders to help maintain the camps and take care of each other.
However, over the course of a couple of decades, without any organized system for sanitation and containment of waste, these camps have filled up with garbage. For many years the City of Savannah has tried multiple strategies in an effort to keep these camps safe and at a basic level of cleanliness to protect public health.
For the first time, on March 1st, they called upon the citizens of Savannah to help in this massive effort to take out as much trash as possible on a single day. Our volunteers and others worked together to remove 11.5 tons of garbage that day! And now the City will send sanitation workers to collect garbage regularly in these two camps so they can remain clean.
The hope is that more of these Clean Up days will happen – and we hope you’ll be open to joining us as we Choose Compassion in this marginalized part of our society. These are unique communities made up of some incredible people. Many have just come upon hard times, some as a result of their own choices and some as the result of the choices of others or circumstances outside their control.
There are, of course, the problems that you might expect to find in a homeless community, unfortunate stereotypes made real in the human faces of men and women plagued by addition and/or mental illness. Some have lived in these camps for years and have no desire to leave. For them, this IS their home…their community. All are in need of the same things each of us are: basics like clean water, food, and shelter. But we’re all in need of more than that: compassion, kindness, grace and our deepest need – a Savior.
We hope as you look through these photos you’ll take a few minutes to pray for the men and women in these camps and thank God for the needs He meets for each of us every day whether we remember to ask him to or not.