Church groups feeding the homeless may not be the best way to help the homeless
A charitable leader says local church groups feeding the hungry in downtown Macon may not be the best way to help people in need. Sister Elizabeth Greim is the director of the homeless shelter Daybreak located near Central Park on Walnut St. The shelter is not complete yet but is already offering more than just services to help people get back on their feet.
"It's a relationship building place," she said.
Daybreak is still under construction but is open to homeless people in the area to drop in.
"It gives an opportunity for people who are on the street or who are inadequately housed to have a place where they can sort out all the resources that are available to them."
The facility will include a medical clinic and goodwill services to help homeless people assimilate back into society, but will not offer meals.
"Setting up feeding programs, setting up feeding sites anywhere downtown isn't always helpful."
Sister Elizabeth said that just giving a meal without other services doesn't always help people get out of homelessness. Even though some church groups hand out food downtown and have good intentions, Sister Elizabeth said that organizations that also offer support services are the ones that really make a difference.
"What we really want to do is to set up those kinds of feeding programs with services, that's how you help somebody go from needing a meal today to hopefully not needing a meal in a week."
Sister Elizabeth said she wants church groups and organizations like daybreak and other members of the coalition to end homelessness to come together to figure out the best way to address the needs of homelessness in the area.
"Maybe we need to have some kind of rallying point to say any church that feeds and sets up a feeding program downtown let's talk about what happens especially on the weekends."
Sister Elizabeth says she knows church groups are trying to help but there’s a bigger question these group need to answer.
"Why is somebody is homeless, why is this happening and who are all of these people who show up?"
Until those questions are answered, she said the doors will be open at Daybreak to help people get back on their feet. The building will be open for short periods of time during renovations but after it's completed it will be open seven days a week during the day assisting any person that comes through its doors.