They’re people with a mission. That mission is to help the hundreds of homeless people in Morgan County change their situations.
When David Haller first came to Decatur homeless he was taken under Smith’s wing.
“He’s like, ‘And another thing, where’s your coat?'” Haller explained. “I said, ‘I don’t have one.’ And he reached into his backpack.”
In February Smith died, his friends say, because he couldn’t afford medicine.
“Hands Across Decatur wants to end all that,” said Founder Sue Grumbir. “We’re here today to start a fund to build a building.”
That building will be a place to learn job skills, shower, and clean clothes for an interview.
“We can give them all the clothes and food they want but if they don’t know how to get a job or can’t find a job or can’t get medical care it doesn’t help them,” Grumbir said.
“What we really need is for people to give them a chance,” said Haller. “We’ve got to try and get out of this. Homelessness is one of the toughest things I’ve ever experienced.”
Haller has a job and says it’s hard to land one without access to things the new building would provide. He says it would decrease the number of homeless camps.
“Because now you’re getting people out of that situation where they can possibly afford their own place or perhaps a motel room and it gets them off the street,” he said. “That’s making an investment in your community.”
Hands Across Decatur just started a new recovery program as well.
The memorial fundraiser is the first annual event and featured American Idol stars and a car show.