“That could be any of us,” were some of the first words I muttered to myself upon entering The Kearney Center, Tallahassee’s new homeless shelter. The new facilities just opened this past Spring, and some 400 to 500 people waited to take a step into the 24/7 center. Kearney provides a safe environment for anyone seeking shelter, as well as food services, health services, computer access, and counseling or case management for anyone who may need it. The thing is, becoming a new occupant of the new shelter is nothing short of a very helpful hand to the homeless. I saw that with my own two eyes upon entering the center.
As soon as I walked through the sliding doors, my colleagues and I were greeted by smiling faces and warm welcomes. Here at DivvyUp, we donate socks to a few locations across the state of Florida, and Kearney is the great effort we support here in town. After handing over boxes of socks and clothes, the receptionist could not help but share her glee and invited other members of the team to take a look at what we brought in. Then we asked for a tour, and everything changed for us after that.
Every part of the center is secure, but it is also very inviting. The walls are dashed with vibrant colors of paint, and there is a delightful art piece directly above the computer area as well. All the dorms are kept clean and there are watch guards present at all times in those areas. Everything is perfectly laid out to welcome people dealing with terrible circumstances, and offer a bed to rest; a meal to eat. At the very end of our tour, after we got a look at the spacious backyard filled with lush shrubs where a band entertains every Friday afternoon, one of the employees in the building approached us about helping out in the kitchen. We will be returning to the center soon and continuing to aid a hand in any form we can, because we could easily be any of those people seeking shelter.