HAZARD—After recuperating from an uphill battle with funding, which included having to close its doors to the needy during the coldest season of the year, the staff at Hazard’s Corner Haven Homeless Shelter is trying to make sure they never have to fight that battle again.
Adrienne Bush, executive director of Hazard Perry County Community Ministries, said though it is not preparing to close its doors, the shelter is trying to raise funds and donations to avoid the worst possible scenario. One way it is doing this is by dedicating an entire day to raising money and collecting donations from the community.
“The Radio Day is a way for everybody to help ensure the success of Corner Haven,” Bush said. “Federal funding has been reduced and we want to ensure that we can remain fully open this year and beyond, and Radio Day is the way to do that.”
Bush said WSGS in Hazard has donated time from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 1 for a Radio Day for the shelter. Those who want to donate to the shelter can call in and make a pledge to the station.
“Our board member John Stacy has really been a catalyst in this initiative. He had contacted WSGS and they agreed to donate the time … and also to have their staff man the phones that day,” she said.
WSGS will be broadcasting the Radio Day on all three of its stations that day, Bush said, which includes WKIC and WJNZ.
“This gives a chance for businesses, churches, civic organizations, and individuals just to contribute what they can in a meaningful way,” Bush said.
Bush added that since Community Ministries is participating in this year’s Run for the Hills Charity Challenge, the first $10,000 that is raised for the shelter will be matched by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and put into a permanent endowment fund for the organization.
Community members will also have a chance to donate at Food City and Walmart in Hazard throughout that evening, Bush said, where volunteers with Hazard High School and the AmeriCorps will be handing out lists of food and non-food items needed at the shelter.
“We’re very excited about that,” she said. “People who are shopping that day can pick up a couple of items and drop them off (before they leave the store).”
Bush explained that the shelter is not holding the Radio Day event as a last resort and has no plans of closing its doors again anytime soon. This event is more of a preemptive strike to increase donations to ensure Corner Haven will remain open through the winter.
“We’ve experienced an increase in demand this year,” Bush said, adding that the shelter, which can house 12 long-term and 12 short-term residents at a time, is currently full. “We are … maintaining a waiting list based on first come, first served.”
Though previous fundraising efforts have been a success for the shelter when it was in dire straits, Bush admitted that with waning federal funds and delays in grant payments the shelter suffers when donations drop off.
“Some of the support has slowed down,” she said. “When it’s not right in your face every day or every morning or whatever it’s — other concerns come up.”
Bush said the shelter and everyone who works or seeks assistance there is grateful for the community and the support given to the shelter, adding that anyone can donate money, food, or non-food items at any time — not just on Radio Day.
“We know the community supports Corner Haven and the work we are trying to do there, and this is a great way to have a meaningful impact in the year to come,” Bush said.