HARWICH — Members of the fire and police departments were scheduled to set up an encampment in Brooks Park on Wednesday to draw attention to the plight of homelessness and community members who have fallen on hard times.
Firefighter Brad Willis was before selectmen Monday night to inform the public that the fifth annual “Homeless for the Holidays” encampment will once again be located in Brooks Park. This is an annual event drawing attention to homeless conditions and the burdens that some people face during the holiday season.
Fire and police staff will be camping out in the park for 103 hours, from Wednesday at 8 a.m. to Sunday at 3 p.m. They will collect food, toys and monetary donations.
“We’re working in solidarity for people who are struggling,” Willis told selectmen Monday night. “We’re trying to supplement these families, and we’ve had great support from the residents in our community.”
The fire and police staff will be in the park 24 hours a day collecting donations that will be distributed to The Family Pantry of Cape Cod and toys that will be shared with the Toys for Tots program on the Cape.
Last year, Willis said the event brought in 1,087 toys, 1,627 pounds of food and $6,460 in cash and gift cards. The first four years of the program generated 9,100 pounds of food, $25,400 in cash and gift cards and 4,550 toys.
Donations of non-perishable food items, new, unwrapped toys, gift cards and cash are being requested. Willis said the types of toys that are especially welcome are board games that families can play together.
The Homeless for the Holidays program was started in 2002 by Bourne firefighter Craig Poirier and has expanded to at least 10 locations across the Cape.