The annual Festival for the Homeless provides free barbeque, live music, children's games, and more to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Winston-Salem. The grassroots event has traditionally been held in public parks, but this year it's hitting the road.
Gateway Commons Park was the site of last year's event where many of Forsyth County's more than 440 homeless people came together. This weekend, due to the current gathering restrictions over coronavirus concerns, the park will be used as a staging area to distribute grab-and-go lunches and gift bags directly to the housing shelters where most of the would-be festival-goers reside.
Organizer Kimberly Hinton-Robinson says she considered canceling this year, but shelter staff changed her mind.
"You know, they all expressed the same thing: how depressed a lot of the guests are in these shelters due to COVID-19," says Hinton-Robinson. "This is a difficult and challenging time for all of us. So, to add being homeless onto this is just, you know, something that I can't even begin to imagine."
On Saturday, volunteers will make stops at three local shelters — Samaritan Ministries, Bethesda Center, and Salvation Army. They'll be accompanied by a live concert on wheels by jazz and R&B singer Saundra Ross.
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