People are showing their support and honoring homeless people in the Yakima County
YAKIMA Wash. -- Dozens of homeless people have died this year in the Yakima County, and people are trying to show they are not forgotten.
On National Homeless Persons Memorial Day, several organizations such as Triumph Treatment Services, Union Gospel Mission and Yakima Neighborhood Health Services got together to support and remember all homeless people.
Early in the day, 250 backpacks full of winter gear were provided to several homeless people and families.
They were also given free coffee, snacks and haircuts.
Perla Santos who brought her children with her says, they have been struggling for a couple of months now and are excited to be receiving their first Christmas gifts.
“We came here with nothing. We didn’t have any clothes or shoes or anything so having them giving this out is pretty nice of them and they are happy and I am too," said Santos.
Later in the day, a memorial service and candlelight vigil took place at the Millenium Plaza to remember the 27 homeless people that died in the Yakima County this year.
Chief Operating officer for the Yakima Neighborhood Health Services Rhonda Hauff, says many homeless people have died because of chronic illness, substance abuse or they have been victims of a crime.
Hauff says this is a good opportunity to remember these men and women as individuals who left a full life behind.
“One thing that the folks who we remembered today is that they had an unstable housing situation but they’re really individuals. They’re our friends, they’re our neighbors, they all have loved ones and so it gives us a moment to reflect and to thing about them as individuals and the lives that they did leave," said Hauff.
Hauff says this National Homeless Persons Memorial Day, and the events that took place today, are not just to support and remember homeless people, but also for people to reach out and look at ways they can help.
She says people can help by volunteering, donating or lending a hand to anyone you see out on the streets.
For Yakima Neighborhood Health Services click here.
For Triumph Treatment Services click here.
For Union Gospel Mission click here.