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Editorial: Homelessness stats in Hastings are alarming

We’re guessing that when this week’s newspaper made its way into your hands, you were a little surprised to see the headline, “Homeless in Hastings” on the front page. For many, it’s likely inconceivable that Hastings has homeless residents.

Certainly, when compared to a major metropolitan area, our problem is a small one. It is also one that looks different here than it does in those big cities. Obviously, there aren’t camps of people camped out under our bridges.

We are, though, facing a serious problem. Families are becoming nomadic, living out of their cars and struggling to get enough food to live. Over the summer, Hastings Family Service saw a dramatic increase in the number of people who needed food and shelter.

Area churches have also seen an increase in homeless activity. Jim Bzoskie from Cornerstone Bible Church told us this week that “We’re getting more cars in our parking lots with families living in them.”

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

We’re especially thankful that Hastings has spectacular amenities for people facing challenges such as homelessness. Throughout our city and county, resources exist to assist people in need of help.

Now more than ever, those resources need to be replenished. We’re getting into the busiest time of the year for charities like Hastings Family Service. By the end of next week, hundreds of people across Hastings will have a hot Thanksgiving meal thanks in large part to the efforts of HFS and so many other charitable organizations in Hastings.

HFS needs your help. Sure, you could volunteer. Sure, you could donate some food or drop off some clothes.

If you really want to help, though, do it with your checkbook. HFS can buy a lot more food with $20 than we can.

If you’re one who wants to get something back from your donation, why not sign up for Gobble Gait? They stand poised to make another massive donation to HFS at the conclusion of their walk/run on Thanksgiving morning.

The need for emergency assistance is greater than ever, which our story on Page 1A this week shows. With homelessness on the rise, the demand just keeps growing, and that’s saying nothing about the needs that have always existed in our community.

When so many of us have so much — like a roof, a shower and food — there should be no shortage of help for those who need it most.