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Center hosts free lunch for homeless

It’s a segment of Lawrence County’s population few may know actually exists. You might find some along the Ohio River banks; others in their cars. The lucky ones have friends who will take them in for the night.

They are the homeless, a reality as much a part of the fabric of small town life as it is in urban environments. The reasons for their situations are varied from drugs to the current economic plight facing so many: Foreclosures and job loss.

Helping them get back on their feet is part of the mission of the Family Guidance Center, a part of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

Once a year the Ironton center hosts a free lunch for those clients as a way to honor its homeless program, as part of National Community Health Center Week

One of those waiting for the lunch of hot dogs, salsa, chips, cole slaw and cake was Adam Moses. The 35-year-old has found the services at the center the way he has turned his life around, recently getting into housing.

“I love it,” Moses said about the special lunch. “There is no way I can cook at home.”

He candidly admits drugs and alcohol were the reasons for his problems.

“I can’t see my kids or wife,” he said. “It is hard. It will get better. The hardest part is being alone.”

The Family Guidance Center is the conduit for the homeless for medical services, food vouchers and transportation to services. On average the center handles 30 to 35 clients a month, the majority are men between the ages of 20 to 60.

Helping with the luncheon were a variety of local retailers: Bartram & Son, Save-a-Lot, Wendy’s of Ironton, Long John Silvers, Forth’s FoodFair, Toro Loco, Tipton’s Tradition, Giovanni’s of Ironton, Snyder’s potato chips, and Freezette of Coal Grove.

“We can bring people in and expose them to information about the resources they can access,” said Ruth Langer of the center. “We see a lot of clients this year more than ever who are suffering from cutbacks. These people who used to know there was a safe place to turn to. .. somebody is there for them. It’s scary, scary for all of them.”