2017-11-29 / Letters

Continue compassion

Dear Editor:

For 15 years, I’ve been a delighted visitor to Berkeley Springs, where my mother built a wonderful home. My family loves being here to enjoy hiking, visiting the museum and park, and having fun at the Apple Butter Festival and Morgan County Expo. This lovely place represents a respite from a busy life, as well as a town focused on wellness, community and a place where the kindness of the country-side is instilled around the family table.

I was surprised when I read the callous comments regarding those experiencing homelessness, as our fellow neighbors are not defined by their state of being homeless, but rather in a temporary need of assistance. As Director of Development at Rainbow Place Shelter in Rockville, Md. I know all too well the hardships of those experiencing homelessness.

Rainbow Place is an emergency shelter assisting women at the beginning of their transition out of homelessness. Our primary focus is to keep the women we serve safe during the hypothermic winter months. Open November 1-March 31, our 28 clients receive a warm, safe place to sleep, three meals a day, shower and laundry facilities, access to case management, storage space and referrals to local social service programs.

I know that Berkeley Springs considers itself a caring community, at least just enough to provide warmth and shelter for three months to 12 people. Experiencing homelessness can happen to anyone of any financial status, like the families in Houston. In addition, as there are very few transportation alternatives to driving to Berkeley Springs, it is unlikely an influx of homeslessness would affect the community. However, if ignored, the likelihood of an increase of homelessness may develop.

Berkeley Springs, the compassion you have for one another is what fuels the conversation around Sunday night dinner. Continue to instill this lesson of compassion and service to the children, for they are our future.

Petra Lee Guiland

Rockville, Md.

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