Today, we’re shining a spotlight on one of our nonprofit partners, Convoy of Hope, who teamed up with a local organization in order to bring light to the homeless population of the Ozarks. Last month, Convoy of Hope and Springfield organization Community Partnership held HOPE Connection, a one-day event that connects the Ozarks’ homeless population with important resources and services provided by their communities.
During HOPE Connection, Convoy of Hope and Community Partnership aim to link individuals affected by homelessness or poverty with over 60 agencies willing to lend them a helping hand. These organizations offer a wide range of services, including healthcare, housing, employment, education, and more. In addition, the event hosts Veterans’ Stand Down, which works directly with homeless veterans in the area. According to Community Partnership’s website, HOPE Connection is “outcome oriented” in that it not only gives disadvantaged individuals access to services that they urgently need, but also looks to set them up for future success after the event comes to an end.
On the day of the event, HOPE Connection opened its doors and welcomed 706 guests from the Southwest Missouri area. Over the course of 6 hours, over 350 volunteers provided direct support to these individuals, connecting them with organizations and resources that best fit their current needs.
One of the stations run by Convoy of Hope handed out solar lanterns and phone chargers to homeless individuals who lack safe light after the sun goes down. Many of HOPE Connection’s guests, including one hosted by volunteer Mitchel Castrolade, were thrilled to receive a source of light that could keep them safe while simultaneously charging their phones. “People see them and their faces light up,” said Castrodale. “The person I was taking through said ‘I sure could use that.’”
Many guests of the event spoke with Convoy of Hope about the resources that they had received, including the solar phone chargers. “[They’re] cool because not only does it stay charged for that long, but if someone is living in a tent or situation where they have to stay outside at night, they have light to protect them,” guest April Matias explained. She noted that solar phone chargers are “extremely helpful” for “anybody that sleeps out on the streets or has a place that doesn’t have any electricity” because they can illuminate their surroundings and ensure their safety.
Another HOPE Connection guest, Gary Boots, was ecstatic to receive a solar phone charger, among the other supplies provided by the convention. According to Boots, a solar lantern and phone charger is “one of the best things you can offer to someone who’s out on the streets” because of its ability to both provide light and charge devices. “I’m really glad to receive one today,” said Boots, “and it actually made me happy to receive something like that.”
This year’s HOPE Connection was a huge success, serving over 700 disadvantaged Missourians with both immediate and long-term assistance. Giving the gift of solar light, among other necessary belongings, put a smile on many guests’ faces and encouraged them to speak on their experiences. Team LuminAID is proud to call Convoy of Hope one of our partners, and we’re standing by to see where they bring light next.