Conference Attendees Unite in Service to Combat Homelessness

conf2014_day1_5.jpg

The City of Atlanta has given a warm welcome to Points of Light’s Conference on Volunteering and Service – and on June 16, hundreds of volunteers from around the world gave back.

Conference attendees spent the morning volunteering for Mayor Kasim Reed’s “Unsheltered No More” initiative to end homelessness in Atlanta. Volunteers worked across seven locations providing meal service, assembling hygiene kits, helping with employment workshops, building picnic tables and more. Points of Light Chairman Neil Bush and President Tracy Hoover were on hand to pitch in and thank volunteers for their service.

“You can see how time and talent are used to give back to the community,” said Gina Simpson, CEO of Hands On Atlanta, an affiliate of Points of Light’s HandsOn Network.

Simpson stressed the vital role volunteers play in combating homelessness in Atlanta, calling it one of the city’s biggest challenges. An estimated 2,400 Atlantans sleep under bridges, in parks  and on benches and sidewalks each night, while another 2,500 cycle in and out of emergency shelters.

Points of Light corporate partners such as Bank of America, which joined Newell Rubbermaid and the Arby’s Foundation in sponsoring the event, have made combating homelessness a major part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) platforms. Susan Portugal, who directs CSR for Bank of America, said the company has focused on “the fundamentals,” like housing, hunger and employment.

Collectively, Bank of America’s employees contribute 2 million hours of volunteer service each year, with 57,000 of those hours spent in the Atlanta market.

Amy Phuong, interim commissioner for Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation thanked Atlanta-based Points of Light for “bringing its Conference home” and for mobilizing volunteers to give back to the community.

“Together, we are uniting in service for our most vulnerable populations,” she said.

To learn more about Unsheltered No More, visit the program’s website.