Over the last few months, Annie Camp Junior High E.A.S.T. students have been working on a project called “Homeless Not Hopeless”.
For Twila Crist, this topic is a big passion of hers.
She was homeless on and off until she was 11-years-old.
“It’s bouncing back and forth, back and forth and you’re embarrassed and you’re kind of scared to get help sometimes”, said Crist.
The E.A.S.T students are designing a vending machine that will be accessible to the Jonesboro homeless community.
Unlike regular vending machines, it will be free and have multiple items.
“They can get food. They can eat. They can stay warm whenever it’s cold at night. And then not only that, but they’ll be able to stay clean with our hygienic products”, said E.A.S.T. student Tenison Roscoe.
The students have been teaming up with the HUB Homeless Resource Center in Jonesboro.
The HUB will help them identify those in need. “They’re going to be able to go there and sign-up and get approval for it. Then they will get a card which will be connected to a database”, said E.A.S.T student Carly Stevens.
Students have done research and created preliminary renderings, but they still need the community’s help to make this a reality.
Annie Camp Junior High East Facilitator, Lorenzo Balderas, says “There’s still work to be done. We’re getting to that point where we’re ready to get some partners on board to help us. You know we are a school; we do not have the funds to build this thing. So, we are looking for community partners to help us fund it, build it and make it a reality”.
Through her experience, Crist says even the little items will make a huge difference in the homeless community’s lives, “When I got a toothbrush or something I was like always happy. I was like, ‘Wow! That’s like a treat or something’ because I was so grateful. It’ll show them that there is hope and that you can move forward”.
If you are interested in helping with Annie Camp’s project you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.