Annual banquet calls attention to hunger and homelessness
By Brian Slattery
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Copyright © 2017 The Brunswick Beacon. The Brunswick Beacon is your source for local news, sports, events and information in Brunswick County, North Carolina and surrounding areas.

LELAND — Harold Jones, a member of the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, spoke at last year’s annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet.

At this year’s event in Leland on Saturday, he provided an update.

“Last year I talked about being homeless. Now I’m here to tell you today I am a homeowner in Southport,” he said.

Jones said he is working three jobs to reach a combined 40 hours a week.

“If you want things in life you have to work for them,” he said. “Nobody owes you anything.”

Jones said he once had a “poor, pitiful me” attitude but has learned to be positive.

Terry Allebaugh of the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness speaks Saturday at the sixth annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet in Leland. (Photo: BCHC)

The coalition brought its sixth annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet to the Brunswick senior center in Leland on Nov. 18.

Homelessness prevention organizers and volunteers met to share information on prevention and assistance efforts.

The gathering also included first-person accounts from people who have been homeless and received help from the homelessness prevention community.

Following an opening prayer from Fran Salone-Pelletier, Jones sang “Amazing Grace” as part of the invocation.

Joe Staton talked about the stigma that comes with being homeless, which makes it difficult for some people to seek or accept help.

“People can be judgmental. If they see a homeless person they think he did something wrong,” Staton said.

Staton said he had a place where he was living and was in a relationship with a woman with two children. When their relationship ended, he said, he felt he did the right thing by leaving so she had a place to live. But it left him without any housing options.

Brunswick Family Assistance helped him get into an apartment, Staton said.

“One day it was a struggle scraping by,” he said. “The next day I was able to make a plan for the future because I had a base.”

Homelessness prevention organizers and volunteers share a soup lunch at the sixth annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet. (Photo: BCHC)

BFA executive director Stephanie Bowen said her agency helps assist people who are 130 percent below the poverty line. She gave an example of a family of four living on $25,000 a year.

In addition offering assistance with utilities, rent, medications and emergency shelter, Bowen said BFA offers a financial literacy program to teach budgeting and tracking expenses and a job skills training course to help people search for jobs and plan for applying and interviewing for them.

Bowen introduced Jaye Cuffee, who took the BFA financial literacy course when he learned his father owed $20,000 in taxes on the home Cuffee moved into with his wife and five children. He said he learned how to stay on top of bills, clip coupons and the importance of learning not to live paycheck to paycheck.

Brunswick County commissioner Pat Sykes attended the banquet to present a proclamation from the county board recognizing the week of Nov. 11-19 as National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.

Sykes said she grew up in a family of eight children with an alcoholic father and her family was homeless at times.

“Back then our church family provided for us. Back then I had many hand-me-downs, but I’ve come a long way because of people like you,” Sykes said, thanking the volunteers and organizers.

Cecelia Peers, administrator for the Homeless Continuum of Care, which covers Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties, spoke about its efforts to get an accurate picture of homelessness in the tri-county area and help the homeless find transitional and permanent housing. It tracks homelessness through the school systems, an annual nationwide point in time count, a homeless assessment report and internal database.

Peers said homelessness people are those living in a place not meant for human habitation, emergency shelters, transitional housing or exiting a temporary residence.

Peers reported 400 Brunswick County students were identified as homeless from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

The last point in time count, conducted Jan. 25, identified 27 homeless people.

New Hanover County reported 76 people came to its shelter from Brunswick County in 2016. And 133 women and children were served in the New Hanover County domestic violence shelter from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

In addition to existing shelters and resources, Peers said, specific programs like Preventative Diversion can provide funds to help people remain in housing they already have so they don’t become homeless. A Rapid Re-Housing program offers short-term financing to help put people in housing as quickly as possible and a Homeless Veteran Strategy Team can help provide veterans with affordable housing.

The keynote speaker, Terry Allebaugh of the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, discussed programs like Rapid Re-Housing, his work with military and veterans’ affairs and the change in methods for providing assistance.

Where once the objective was to get homeless people housing-ready, the coalition now strives to find stable housing as soon as possible and then provide support to help them be successful, Allebaugh said. The federal objective for ending homelessness would return a homeless person to permanent housing within 30 days of beginning assistance.

While it sounds over-ambitious if the effort cuts the average amount of time a person is homeless from 67 days to 60 days, Allebaugh said, they are seeing an improvement to build on.

“We want to define homelessness as rare, brief and non-recurring,” he said.

Allebaugh also recommended groups involved in homelessness assistance get the word out by organizing a community summit and declaring their own mission to end homelessness. They could also prioritize the needs for the area, like an emergency shelter for Brunswick County.

Allebaugh encouraged the attendees to take the efforts public by making presentation to the county, city and town councils and ask former homeless people to share their stories.

“It is powerful. There is nothing like a person’s story to share this information,” he said.

Homelessness resources in Brunswick County

Hope Harbor Home is for single women and women with children who are victims of domestic violence to assists in moving on to permanent housing.

Gateway Landing, which offers a 12-month, faith-based residential program for men with life-controlling issues like substance abuse.

Brunswick County Streetreach, which coordinates interfaith sheltering during winter and access to shelter during summer.

Brunswick County Homeless Coalition assists county residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with resources and crisis support.

Brunswick Family Assistance helps low-income residents with food, clothing, emergency financial assistance and access to health services and other resources.

A Housing Crisis Hotline (910-444-4998) is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to screen people for diversion or shelter

The Brunswick Homeless Task Force committee meets at 9 a.m. the third Monday of the month in the second floor training room at the Brunswick County Administration Building. Meetings are open to anyone in Brunswick County who is interested in preventing and ending homelessness.

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or

Copyright © 2017 The Brunswick Beacon. The Brunswick Beacon is your source for local news, sports, events and information in Brunswick County, North Carolina and surrounding areas.

Leland gathering raises awareness and funds to fight homelessness, hunger

Saturday, November 18th 2017, 8:41 pm EST

By: Ben Smart, Reporter, WECT

Roy Tucker, Coalition to Reduce Poverty in Brunswick County, addresses 2017’s 6th Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon (SOURCE: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – About a hundred people gathered at the Brunswick Center in Leland for the Sixth Annual Hunger & Homeless Banquet Saturday.

Community leaders, experts, formerly homeless people, and concerned citizens were among the attendees.

The purpose of the event was to educate the community about homelessness, but also to raise funds for the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, which put on the event.

According to data provided at the event, there were 322 sheltered and unsheltered homeless people in Brunswick County in a count January 2017.

The Brunswick County Homeless Coalition assists about 300 people struggling with homelessness every year, according to the Co-President of the coalition.

Volunteer Joe Staton faced homelessness four years ago, but eventually got back onto his feet. Now, Staton volunteers with the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition.

“When I moved to Brunswick County I was homeless. And through a process of getting help… I was able to get an apartment, somewhere to live,” said Staton. “So now I volunteer to try to give back something and help the ones who still need it.”

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.

Organization raises awareness for the homeless

Saturday, November 18th 2017, 1:10 pm EST

By: Jenna Kurzyna, WWAY

Brunswick County Homeless Coalition’s annual banquet (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Ending homelessness and hunger in one county is the mission for the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition.

This weekend the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition held their 6th Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon.

This event was to educate and raise awareness about poverty-related problems.

The event was free and hosted at the Brunswick Center at Leland.

The banquet and soup luncheon invited formerly homeless individuals to talk about their past struggles and learn about solutions.

Joe Staton who now volunteers with the coalition used to be homeless and said the help he received from them was life changing.

“A lot of people don’t know that Brunswick County has a homeless population at all, but they do and we work directly with them. When I came to Brunswick County I was homeless, and I received the help and I know there’s a lot of people out there needing it,” Staton said.

The Brunswick County Homeless Coalition is made up of volunteers and wants to continue to educate the community about the hunger and homeless problems in the area.

WWAY TV, LLC. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

L-R Jim MacCallum, Paul Witmer, and Joe Staton. Click or tap to play video on Youtube. (PHOTO: ATMC TV)

ATMC TV’s November 2017 “Our Hometown” show features, during its latter segment, an interview with Paul Witmer and Joe Staton of the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition. The subject matter covers the definition of homelessness, aspects of our homelessness problem with respect to Veterans and others, and the Coalition’s annual event on November 18th, 2017, spotlighting awareness of and solutions to poverty- and homelessness-related problems here in Brunswick County.

Our Hometown, hosted by Jim MacCallum, features in-depth stories about local people, places and events in Brunswick and Columbus Counties. Our Hometown airs every day at 8:30am and 7:00pm on ATMC TV.

The Homeless Coalition appreciates very much this opportunity to raise awareness, and we give a heartfelt thanks to Jim and to ATMC TV.

Your turn: National Hunger & Homeless Awareness week
Thursday, November 9th 2017, 1:18 pm EST (Source: WECT). Copyright 2017 Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved.
By: Joe Staton, Brunswick County Homeless Coalition

Click or tap to watch the video. (Photo source: WECT)


How many persons are homeless in Brunswick County?

How do you define homelessness?

How can we help homeless veterans find housing?

Is there a single path to end homelessness?

What is rapid rehousing and how does it work?

Are there really more than 400 homeless students in the Brunswick County School system?

Does Brunswick County need a homeless shelter?

(Photo Source: WECT)

The answers to some of these questions may alarm you. National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is held each year during the week prior to Thanksgiving.

The Brunswick County Homeless Coalition takes this opportunity to enhance our efforts to raise awareness about the issue and what is being done locally to work toward meeting the needs, advocating for and working toward ending homelessness.

The best thing we can do is get more people involved.

Please go to the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition website at to learn how you can get involved. While you are visiting our site, please consider registering for our annual event on Saturday, November 18.

As we move toward the Thanksgiving season, and start to count our own blessings, please consider sharing some of that compassion with our neighbors who aren’t as fortunate as us. Together, we can make a difference.

Note: This is an archived article about a past event. There may be more current information about a related recent event at the following link:

The Sixth Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon

The Sixth Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon

Basic Information

Observing National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (Nov 11-19, 2017), The Brunswick County Homeless Coalition invites you to attend the Sixth Annual Hunger & Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon
on Nov 18th in Leland, NC. There is no cost to attend; a lunch of homemade soups and bread will be provided.

This year’s program will be held at BSRI’s Brunswick Center in Leland, NC, located at 121 Town Hall Dr. NE, Leland, NC, 28451, at the corner of Village Road and Town Hall Drive. [Click or tap for Driving Directions.] The program, scheduled to run from 10am to 2pm, is entitled “Ending Homelessness in Brunswick County.” Doors open at 9:30am.

Besides the delicious soups, you will hear the powerful stories of local formerly homeless men and women, information from local leaders about what’s being done to address the problem (and how you can help), and a presentation from special guest Terry Allebaugh, Community Impact Coordinator for the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness.

You are invited to pre-register for the event on the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition website’s registration form to help us prepare for the appropriate number of guests. There is no cost to register or attend; donations of any amount are appreciated and directly go to help the hungry, homeless, and at-risk population of Brunswick County.

2012: the First Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in an event held each November which began at Villanova University in 1975. It’s an annual program across the country to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. Held at more than 700 locations each year, with hundreds of thousands of participants,
this event has raised millions of dollars for local service providers across the country. Participating groups spend the week holding a series of educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events. The Sixth Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon is Brunswick County’s registered National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week event, held to raise awareness and work toward solutions here at home.

The Sixth Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon is organized by the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition. The Coalition meets the second Tuesday of the month at the BSRI Senior Center in Shallotte, NC. You can find out more at the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition website.


Your help in getting the word out about this event is very much appreciated. The more people that are able to attend, the more support can be gathered and the more resources can be mobilized against the fight against hunger and homelessness right here at home.

Person to person, word-of-mouth publicity is very effective–and today, with e-mail and social networking, it has a potentially much larger reach. The sharing buttons at the bottom of this page can help you to share and spread the news using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and e-mail.

There are also promotional printables and promotional graphics in the form of printable 8.5×11″ flyers and .jpg graphic files. You are encouraged to download these and share them online, and print them to post publicly, to share with friends and family, or to share with your civic, church, or worship group.


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Brunswick County Homeless Coalition

PO Box 7411, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

1-888-519-5362 for info or assistance

(L-R) Joe Staton of the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman, Barbara Serafin of BCHC, and Councilman Mike Callahan participate in the reading and presentation of the proclamation. (Photo: BCHC/JAJ)

At their October 19th, 2017 Town Council meeting, the Town of Leland showed their support of the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition by inviting us to receive an official proclamation of Hunger and Homelessness awareness week, November 11th – 19th, 2017.

Town Councilman Mike Callahan read the proclamation as Mayor Brenda Boseman presented it to Barbara Serafin and Joe Staton of the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition.

Support from area governments and leaders is essential in the fight against poverty-related issues like hunger and homelessness, and the BCHC would like to richly thank the Town of Leland for all their recognition and support.  Leland is host this year to 2017’s sixth annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon, scheduled for November 18th at 9:30am.

Proclamation proclaiming November 11-19, 2017 as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. (Source: Town of Leland; Scan: BCHC/BJS)

Brunswick County Homeless Coalition was on hand for Seniors Helping Seniors on October 13th, 2017 at BSRI’s Stone Chimney Road center. BSRI hosts the Seniors Helping Seniors event during the autumn season of each year as an opportunity to showcase area businesses and organizations of interest to seniors. Lots of area businesses, groups, and organizations were present for the information, the fellowship, the entertainment and the food. At the BCHC table, about 75 people stopped specifically to talk with us and learn more about problems and solutions here in Brunswick County.

BCHC members at the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition table at Seniors Helping Seniors, Oct 13, 2017 at BSRI Center Supply. (L-R Ralph Carmody, Giselle Bawab, Joe Staton, and Barbara Serafin of BCHC)


Barbara Serafin invites someone to our November Hunger & Homeless Banquet.
Ralph Carmody helps someone learn more about the homeless and what we can do to help.
The 2017 Seniors Helping Seniors event.
Brunswick Conty Homeless Coalition’s table at the event contained information about who we are, what we do, how to get help or refer someone to get help, and upcoming events.
Rita, Giselle, and Ralph talk with the public at the BCHC table
Jim Fish and Debra Marlowe of BSRI give away door prizes to those attending the event

Brunswick County Homeless Coalition

2016 Statistics

In 2016, the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition responded to 344 requests for assistance. 48 families (104 people) were provided 140 nights of emergency shelter, and 296 families received assistance with rent, utilities, food, medications, and/or transportation.

Your donations are very important to us and to those we serve. Please consider donating any amount to help.

Brunswick County Homeless Coalition was pleased to participate in Resource Days, September 20, 2017 in Southport, NC, and September 30, 2017 in Leland, NC.


Ralph, Mark, Barbara, and Mary representing the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition.
Barbara and Marc with the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition banner sign.
The event and some of those in attendance.
A few displays from the event.
Mark and Paul talk with a representative from Habitat for Humanity.