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Cardboard signs to shed light on homelessness in Alexandria area Tuesday, Nov. 16

Residents are encouraged to help spread awareness about homelessness, poverty and hunger in the Douglas County area by meeting with Communities Action staff at the Big Ole Statue on North Broadway and carrying cardboard signs.

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A homeless man holds up a tattered piece of cardboard that says, "Have you ever felt invisible before?"

An effort will take place in Alexandria on Tuesday, Nov. 16 to shine a light on homelessness. It's the West Central Minnesota Communities Action's "Cardboard Brigade."

Residents are encouraged to help spread awareness about homelessness, poverty and hunger in the Douglas County area by meeting with Communities Action staff at the Big Ole Statue on North Broadway, starting at 3:30 p.m. Participants will receive cardboard signs with statistics and messages. Call Amber Holmstrom at 320-304-3458 with questions or to volunteer.

Those in the brigade will stand along Broadway until 5 p.m., hoping to catch the attention of drivers and passers-by about just how serious the problem is and the lives that are impacted. They'll also be collecting donations – toiletries, gloves, hats, bus passes, gas cards, personal hygiene items, grocery store gift cards, as well as monetary donations for staff to purchase items.

There will be a lot of eye-opening information on those cardboard signs. Just one of the messages from last year's brigade: 8% of the senior citizens in Douglas County live below the poverty line.

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Those who would like to make a donation outside of the times the Cardboard Brigade will take place, should call 320-304-3458 or email amberh@wcmca.org

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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