Every year in November the EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless (ECOH) seeks partner organizations to help create awareness and understanding of homelessness in our community. 

This is done during the one week period known as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (NHHAW) which will be the week of November 11-17 this year. 

 A special community event is planned for each day of the week and everyone in Escambia and Santa Rosa County is invited to participate.  A calendar of events for 2012 can be found at www.ecoh.org and it is hoped that you will personally commit to participate in several of these events.

Coming up, is a new event that has been added this year for the prayer breakfast on Wednesday, Nov. 14th at the Loaves & Fishes Soup Kitchen.  The CEO's and other executives from major businesses in Santa Rosa and Escambia County are invited to come at 6:45 a.m. to meet and serve the homeless men and women who arrive each day for breakfast and prayer. 

This gives leaders in our business community the opportunity to pray for all those who are struggling with poverty and homelessness and to serve those who need our help the most.  Hundreds of people come to this location at 257 East Lee Street every day for meals so be sure your business is there to serve.  Registrations are accepted online at www.ecoh.org. or via email to janis.wilson@ecoh.org.

Waterfront Rescue Mission will host the Escambia County Candlelight Vigil on Thursday, Nov. 15th at 6:00PM at the 348 West Herman Street Men's Shelter.  Everyone is invited to be part of this symbolic event to create awareness of the men, women, and children living on the streets, in cars, shelters, tents and other places not meant for human habitation.  It is a time for us to remember and honor those who died this year with a moment of silence, music and testimonies.

Friday night, Nov. 16th is a wonderful event at Gallery Night on Palafox Street.  It is an opportunity for homeless artists to display and sell their artwork at the ECOH Homeless Art Gallery in the Tax Collector's Office.  Come see this beautiful old bank building with its huge vault and make a purchase of some great art while listening to local homeless musicians perform.  Homeless artists and musicians who want to participate must register at www.ecoh.org.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week will end with the final day of the Food Drive for Caring and Sharing and Manna Food Pantry on Saturday, Nov. 17th.  However, the EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless offers interesting presentations throughout the year with their "Faces of Homelessness" Speakers Bureau.  To schedule a presentation for your school, business, church or community organization, please call the ECOH "Faces of Homelessness" speakers bureau coordinator, at 850-341-1399 or email janis.wilson@ecoh.org.  Additional information is available at www.ecoh.org.

The week-long celebration began on Sunday, Nov.11th which is Veterans Day. And, are you aware that more than one third of our homeless are veterans?  Please join in honoring all our veterans and participate with ECOH, Waterfront Rescue Mission, Caring & Sharing, and Manna Food Pantry in the first day of our food drive to kick-off National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. Your generous donation of non-perishable food items will be greatly appreciated.  A list of most-needed items can be found at www.ecoh.org along with details for each day's event.

At the River Walk in downtown Milton the fourth annual Candlelight Vigil for the homeless of Santa Rosa County was held Nov 12th.  The Vigil is held to create awareness of all those in need and to pay homage to the homeless who died during the past year with a moment of silence, beautiful music and personal testimonies from homeless and formerly homeless individuals.

Nov. 13th was the day of Fasting and Awareness. By skipping one or more meals this day, you may begin to realize what our homeless experience on a daily basis.  At the conclusion of the day you are invited to "No Dinner and a Movie Night" hosted this year by Waterfront Rescue Mission in their new facility at 348 West Herman Street in Pensacola at 6:30 PM.  Admission is free (donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted at the door) so bring the family to see "My Own Four Walls"  a touching film about homeless children that stars several of our local young people.  The Mission Choir will also be performing for your enjoyment.