To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Recently, there was a very sad day for the "family" who utilizes the services of the Pearl Street Center located on the second floor of the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield. I recently became involved with this organization known as CO-ACT, Inc., a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization with many initiatives to help the unemployed and homeless.
As I entered the Pearl Street entrance to attend meetings, a very gentle man would open the door for me. We would exchange "good mornings" and I would go on up to my meeting on the second floor. He would do the same for me when I left the building sometime in the early afternoon. That was where he spent the day -- in the hallway, making sure individuals were able to get in the building which otherwise would be locked.
He was part of a caring community, where he would help others and also receive support. I did not know his name, nor he, mine. It was really not important for either of us, but I knew when I got to the door (usually with arms full of a bag of folders), he would be there to open the door.
As I came in the door on a recent morning, he was not there. I missed seeing him. There was someone else who opened the door for me and a few other individuals standing in the hallway. As I said "good morning" to them and went on up the stairs, I wondered where my friend was. As the committee people came in to begin the meeting, our CEO, Paul Deslauriers, told us why "he" was not there. He had not been at his post since sometime the previous week.
At that meeting, I learned that my friend had a name -- Kevin. He was found dead in a vacant building, the circumstances of which are unknown as of this writing. However, I do know that Kevin is not the only individual who is "out there" -- operating on their own, homeless, no roof over their head, living in a desolate, lonely, and most times, hungry and hopeless state.
What happened to Kevin cannot now be changed. What is important is how many more Kevin’s are out there in our community? Was there something any one of us could have done to prevent this?
I am working with Co-Act to help other homeless individuals, especially women, from coming to this same needless end. If you would like to help us through volunteering or with fund raising for a transitional housing facility, dedicated to helping homeless women and teen-age girls, please contact Co-Act at (413) 232-7888. Bringing awareness to the number of homeless in our community is an absolute necessity. Providing more housing facilities is also an absolute necessity especially for women and teen-age girls.
Contact Co-Act for information on donations. Donating an item(s) which can be put up for bid at our Silent Auction on October 10 can be done at the Whiting Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield.
Eradicating homelessness starts with each of us. Co-Act, Inc. and its initiatives are trying to do just that.