In the coming week, as we collectively turn our attention to counting our blessings, we might also pay some mind to the many in our community whose basic needs may be chronically unmet. On Saturday, Nov. 18, from 3 to 8 p.m., The kNOw Youth Media will host Harvest for Humanity, a block party to benefit the Poverello House, which has been serving Fresno’s homeless residents since 1974.
Saturday’s free event will be held in the parking lot adjacent to The kNOw Youth Media’s offices at 2911 Tulare Street. It will offer a unique opportunity for those of us with closets and drawers full of clothes to share our abundance with individuals who don’t take a warm bed, or even four walls, for granted.
In lieu of an entry fee, attendees are encouraged to donate body-warming articles, which will help build “warming kits” to be distributed to local people in need. Suggested items include beanies, blankets, ear muffs, jackets, scarves, socks, sweaters, thermals—basically, anything that you’d need to defend yourself from the cold if you were facing winter without the comfort of a home. Cash donations for the Poverello House will also be accepted.
In addition to the warming kit drive, Harvest for Humanity will feature spoken-word performances, fire dancing, a raffle and bake sale, a movie screening (at 5 p.m.), arts and crafts for children, and a photo booth. All proceeds will go to Poverello House. Hi-Top Coffee will be on hand providing free coffee, while local brand FYL Clothing will be presenting a pop-up shop.
This event is the brainchild of kNOw reporter Danyeal Escobar, an Edison student who earlier this year published an op-ed titled “Homeless People Have Had it Hard Enough” on the Unhealthy and Hazardous Camping Act, the new local ordinance that effectively criminalizes homelessness and authorizes the Fresno Police Department to jail anyone caught sleeping in public. Saturday’s event aims to build community, raise awareness, and unite Fresnans in positive, compassionate action on behalf of Fresno’s oft-misunderstood homeless population.
As a stalwart of community compassion, Poverello House was a natural fit for the event. Established by Mike McGarvin, who passed away earlier this year, the non-profit offers shelter, meals, social services, and basic human kindness to Fresno’s most vulnerable and materially disadvantaged folks.
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The kNOw Youth Media has been operating in Fresno since 2006. Its mission is to provide journalism and advocacy skills to young people, thereby empowering local youth to tell their personal stories, which at the end of the day are inextricably linked to the stories of their communities. According to Miguel Bibanco, program associate and reporter at The kNOw, student reporters are trained to tell stories about “the things that they notice, the things that affect them,” and to ask questions about the conditions of their lives, such as “why are they the way they are, and what are the things that we can do to…change outcomes, change impact, change systems in order to improve the conditions for their loved ones or themselves and for their community.”
The kNOw publishes its own magazine twice a year. It also offers regularly refreshed content—on subjects ranging from community health and the environment to government, education, and arts and culture—on its website. The kNOw not only offers young people resources for “brushing up on their writing chops for journalistic content, for creative writing content, for narrative writing, for whatever they’re interested in,” Miguel says, but photography, multimedia and video creation training is available as well. “I took a lot of folks through podcast training, and we had a series of podcasts during the summer, so that was really cool and exciting.” Young people interested in writing, journalism, and broadcast media are encouraged to get in touch! Contact info for The kNOw can be found here.
To volunteer, donate, or find out more about Poverello House and its many programs, visit its website here.