Eric Burdge, a second year student at Le Moyne College, is a Homelessness/Hunger Outreach Coordinator who plans days of outreach and service; recruits volunteers from among students and faculty; and then serves by example as team leader in the activity of the day. For the past 3 semesters, he has been involved in campus-wide service days, Emmaus Ministries, "To the Streets" teams, and serving food at the Catholic Charities Emergency Men's Shelter. Eric's hard work, self-giving, and sustained involvement in planning, leading, and serving homeless and hungry people, in Le Moyne College's faith-based local service programs and his enthusiasm and dedication are an inspiration to all who share his passion for helping people in need.
Homelessness is the black sheep lurking in every city across the United States and around the world. Even in areas that seem to be "well off," neglection of the homeless remains an issue. My efforts in coordination with Le Moyne's DIVE program and Emmaus Ministries involve identifying the causes of homelessness, temporary solutions to preserve humane conditions, and long term solutions to defeat homelessness. Sheila Austin, Emmaus Ministry, started our journey by showing us that the homeless are not untouchables that should be avoided. They are men and women like you and me. Many shy away from the homeless or look the other way, but ignoring homelessness is not the solution. My main efforts currently involve leading groups of Le Moyne students that deliver food, toiletries, and other essentials to those in shelters and on the streets of downtown Syracuse. Many people make donations to shelters and food banks, but few see the next step. I believe by helping fellow Le Moyne students meet, converse, and relate to the homeless, we are taking the next step towards awareness and realization of the issue. I believe if more people realize that these people are just members of our community in need of a helping hand, we will become more able to help those in the downward spiral of homelessness.