Cape Cod Duo Teams Up to Help the Homeless
Sandwich resident Amanda Jacob just wants to help. That’s why she has teamed up with a friend to create Hopeful Outreach of Cape Cod in order to keep the Cape’s homeless population warm and healthy this winter.
Hopeful Outreach is a foundation started by Jacob and her classmate at Cape Cod Community College, Patrick Downey. The two are both majoring in human services.
“We got together and wanted to help our unhoused population, people in early recovery or domestic violence survivors here on Cape Cod, since the need was big,” Jacob said.
What Hopeful Outreach Provides for the Homeless
They began by making bags for the homeless with needed items such as clothing, hats and hygiene products, as well as sheltering items such as tents and blankets.
“I think it gives them a little bit of hope,” Jacob said of those they’ve been able to help already. “It’s getting really cold and they don’t have many places that they can go, so we’ve been able to provide the tents, the thermal blankets, the thermal sleeping bags.”
“You see that little spark and that little hope that people are here for them,” she said.
The two have also gained the attention of State Representative (and New Bedford native) Steven Xiarhos, a key connection that can help in getting assistance for those in need.
“We’ve been able to work with housing assistance to get into some of the shelters,” Jacob said. “We’re able to reach more of the homeless population.”
She said that she and Downey have resources that they know can help the homeless, but it has to start with getting them the things that can take care of their immediate needs, which is why they are putting together the winter bags.
“If we can reach them and get them the supplies they need, (then) we’re able to point them in the direction of where they might be able to get help in getting housing or food or whatever that (need) may be,” Jacob said.
Who Makes Up the Homeless Population of Cape Cod?
Jacob said there are a lot of homeless people on the Cape, and not everyone fits a stereotype of who you would expect to be unsheltered, calling it a “wide range” of people and that it’s “not just people in recovery.”
“We have our veterans. Maybe people don’t understand, we have a lot of veterans that are homeless,” she said.
There are also those escaping domestic violence situations with nowhere else to go.
“We had a woman come to us recently who had to leave a domestic violence situation with just the clothes on her back,” Jacob said. “So we are helping her.”
Jacob said limited housing opportunities and long waiting lists are part of what is keeping people on the streets, along with a tough economy.
“Even the shelters that we do have, we have one shelter for men and only maybe two or three for women with children,” she said. “So there are not a lot of resources at the moment, and we’re hoping we can raise awareness to help with this.”
How You Can Help Hopeful Outreach of Cape Cod
You can follow along with the work of the organization on the Hopeful Outreach of Cape Cod Facebook group. They also started an Amazon wishlist and a GoFundMe to help pay for the items they’re putting into the donation bags.
“Patrick jumps into the ocean for every $50 we make,” Jacob said. “He jumped into the ocean, in the snow, the other day. He’s been phenomenal. We’re both really passionate about what we do.”
Every dime raised goes to helping those in need.
“It all goes to getting us the supplies that we need,” Jacob said. “We have been paying out of pocket for a lot of these items, so between the GoFundMe and the Amazon wishlist, they’re a huge help.”
You can also reach out to the group at firstname.lastname@example.org. That goes for more than just those who wish to donate.
“If you do have a need, then you can reach out to us as well,” Jacob said.
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