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Keeping neighbors in mind

I had an opportunity to drive with Page Morrow, a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, along a route she takes every Tuesday from the Town of Farmville to Prospect to deliver meals to people who need them. While many are elderly, some are adults who have fallen on difficult times.

Morrow’s route and the people that she served meals to was cut drastically following the recent closing of the Town Motel.

The motel had a number of violations, and there was evidence the conditions were not safe for those who lived there. However, the closure left between 25-30 people that, without the intervention of community organizations, might not have had other options for where they would stay the next day.

Affordable and available housing is a struggle that has existed long before this closure. It’s a struggle for families who don’t have the option of a homeless shelter, or the option to book a hotel room, or afford rent prices that exceed their income. It’s a struggle for the organizations in town who directly work with those in poverty, such as the Prince Edward County Department of Social Services, Piedmont Senior Resources, STEPS, Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity, FACES and faith communities around the area.

Longwood University’s Office of Citizen Leadership & Social Justice is also bringing this issue to light, holding a weeklong poverty and hunger awareness event for students and community members

As the weather gets colder, as the holidays approach, as the topic of affordable housing in the area becomes more prevalent, please take time to use your abilities and resources to help so many people who need it.

You can join people participating in a night-long cardboard city homeless experience being held Friday at Stubbs Lawn at Longwood from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., or the Empty Bowls event, which will be held Sunday at the Moton Museum from 4-6 p.m. Participants can receive a bowl designed by Longwood’s Ceramics Department and raise funds to end hunger.

The Central Virginia chapter of Writing for Peace and the Robert Russa Moton Museum will be partnering to hold a Winter Warmth Drive from Nov. 1-30, where people can donate new or gently used coats, hats, scarves, gloves, socks and blankets at the museum.

The people displaced at the Town Motel are neighbors for a lot of us. It’s important for us to create opportunities for those who live close to us to have the basic necessities of shelter, food and clothing.

EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH is a staff reporter for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. Her email address is Emily.Hollingsworth@FarmvilleHerald.com.