By Roya Fathalizadeh– 

It’s 32 degrees and pouring down rain. You’re hungry, your pockets are empty, and you have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. This is the sad reality of far too many homeless people across the country.

Over 550,000 people experienced homelessness in the U.S. in 2015, and that doesn’t include the ones not counted. On March 24, U of L Porter Scholars teamed up with nursing students to make care packages for homeless shelters across the city.

“We hope to make an impact in the Louisville community,” said senior Porter Scholar Nitaya Walker. “We decided to put together this service project and get students and faculty members to donate travel sized hygiene items and nonperishable food to put in these care packages for those who are in need.”

Many of those in attendance felt passionate about making a difference in the community.

“It is our duty and our right to serve and help those who cannot help themselves” said senior nursing student Carla Flippins. “We’re planning on making a little over 100 care packages to distribute to homeless shelters across Louisville.”

Shannon Fried, a volunteer at St. John Center for Homeless Men, came to speak on the issue.

“So many different factors contribute to homelessness,” Fried said. “Not having a support system is a big one. How are you supposed to bring yourself up when you have no one to help you?”

St. John is one of the many shelters that will accept the care packages. The male-only, day-time shelter houses 92 men from seven counties across Kentucky. Over 32 percent of these men lack high school diplomas.

St. John’s main goal is to help these men find permanent housing. In the past year, 212 men moved out of the shelter and found housing. The shelter is always looking for volunteers, especially on the weekends. The shifts offered are only two hours long, and you can sign up on their website.