Skidmore Organizes Candlelight Vigil for the Homeless: Office of Community Service collaborates with Saratoga organizations for week events

Posted by Andy Shi

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the College will host a candlelight vigil and a showing of the documentary "Homeless-The Motel Kids of Orange County" to promote National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Jennifer Au, program coordinator of the Office of Community Service, will coordinate these events in collaboration with Saratoga County Housing Alliance and Shelters of Saratoga, the only adult homeless shelter in Saratoga, Washington or Warren counties.

"The students wanted to put together [a fundraiser] for the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, but by the time we returned from the conference we had a week to pull everything together," said Au, referring to the Resolve to Fight Poverty National Conference from Nov. 4 to 6 at the University of Maryland. 

The candlelight vigil will consist of a welcome from the Housing Alliance and testimonials and short speeches by community members, Au said. The documentary, directed by Alexandra Pelosi, focuses on children who live in expensive hotel rooms with bedbugs and poverty in Orange County, while their parents struggle to make a living.

"The true reason we have been able to continue expanding upon the services we've provided for the past 20 years is a direct result of the generosity and commitment of individuals and businesses in our community who care about the well-being of others," said Cindy Harrington, director of Marketing and Development for Shelters of Saratoga.

Although Au said there is no fundraiser or charity associated with this event, Cindy Phillips, co-chair and community developer coordinator of the Saratoga County Housing Alliance, said students have teamed up with the Saratoga County Housing Alliance to sponsor "Helping the Homeless Makes Cents Initiative," a community coin drive to benefit the homeless. Cans to collect coins will be placed in participating downtown Saratoga businesses.

"SOS [Shelters of Saratoga] will be launching its second annual appeal in the coming week with hopes of meeting or exceeding the funds raised last year, which are used to support operational expenses," Harrington said.

In spirit of the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Au said she will set up collection cans on campus at Burgess Cafe and the Atrium in the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall.

The Candlelight Vigil will start on the Case Walkway at 6 p.m. and the film "Homeless-The Motel Kids of Orange County" will be shown in Gannett Auditorium at 7 p.m.

For further information on the Saratoga County Housing Alliance, visit its website at saratogacountyhousingalliance.org, and for addition information on Shelters of Saratoga and the week-long series of events on- and off-campus, visit sheltersofsaratoga.org

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