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Anti-poverty group calls attention to hunger and homelessness

An anti-poverty group will call attention to the problem of hunger and homelessness next week by carrying cardboard signs and holding a soup dinner.

From 4-5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, West Central Minnesota Community Action volunteers will form a "cardboard brigade," carrying signs around downtown Alexandria. From 5-7 p.m., the agency will then serve a soup dinner at its office on 503 Hawthorne St., in the lower level.

It's in conjunction with National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, which is held each year the week before Thanksgiving. This year, that's Nov. 11-19.

"This is a time for us all to start to think about what we are thankful for, a perfect time to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness, and work toward a world where no one has to experience hunger or homelessness," the agency said in a news release.

Community Action offers several programs to assist households with emergency housing assistance within Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Grant counties. It reports seeing these trends:

• Douglas County food drop reaches an average of 187 households and 492 individuals.

• Older adults are one of the fastest-growing groups of people experiencing homelessness.

• On any given night, there are 10,214 homeless people in Minnesota including more than 3,500 children.