CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Rolling Forward Project is following up the success of its bike sharing program with the introduction of a “Giving Wall.”
Stephanie Southworth and Sara Brallier, sociology professors and researchers at Coastal Carolina University, have spent the last few years conducting a poverty study. They’ve interviewed about 250 people over five years.
During their interviews Brallier said they learned transportation was one of the largest barriers for those dealing with homelessness.
“They have trouble using public transportation or the bus doesn’t go where they need to go, they don’t go far enough out and so we started a bike program,” Brallier said. “Coastal Public Safety helped out and we donated about 100 bikes to the New Directions shelter so they started a bike program in which folks can borrow bikes to get to work, to go visit their family, to go and meet with social service agencies, to go to church.”
Rolling Forward leaders then decided to tackle what those interviewed said was their other greatest struggle — affording necessities.
“Unsheltered folks sometimes struggle to get the basic necessities and Shepherd’s Table was kind enough to give us access to the people they serve,” Brallier said.
The Shepherd’s Table is a Christian-based, non-profit soup kitchen in Conway. It’s also the home of Rolling Forward’s first Giving Wall. On the wall are bags filled with things like masks, sunscreen, snacks and shoes.
“This is a good way to create a partnership between the university and it’s students and the community that serves housing insecure and food insecure folks,” Brallier said.
Brandon Oates, the executive director of The Shepherd’s Table, said the organization’s main goal is to provide hot meals to the community twice a day, five days a week. Now, this allows it to expand help to the community.
“The homeless population has definitely picked up in Conway, in the Conway-area,” Oates said. “Our numbers are increasing. They went down for a little with the stimulus packages coming out, but now things are starting to pick back up.”
The Shepherd’s Table is hosting a job fair on June 10 to help people find jobs before the pandemic unemployment benefits expire at the end of the month.
It will be held between 1 p.m.. and 3 p.m. with employers in the hospitality, health care, retail and law enforcement industries hiring on the spot.
The Shepherd’s Table is located at 1412 Gamecock Avenue in Conway.