Lee Co. Homeless Coalition helps 500 homeless

CREATED Feb. 1, 2014

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - Simple things, like a hot meal and a clean shirt, are a luxury for Robert Pashegoba, who's been homeless for 12 years.

"It's hard on you, you have to be on top of of your toes as usual because you spend a lot of time alone," Pashegoba said.

That's why Pashegoba comes to the City of Palms Park every year for the Homeless Service Day and Veteran Stand Down, where the Lee County Homeless Coalition provides essential goods to the homeless.

"I got soaps, shirts, just necessities, I try not to overload because there's a lot of people who come," Pashegoba said.

And it's not just backpacks and hygiene kits, but also things like health screenings, counseling and information on veterans benefits.

"Our goal today is to help people make connections," Lee County Homeless Coalition Executive Director Janet Bartos said. "There are a lot of services available in our city and county and we want to make sure everyone is connected."

Dozens of volunteers helped give free hair cuts, hand out tooth brushes and give out information on different programs. For volunteer Steve Carey with Harvest House Ministries, it's an event that hits close to home.

"I used to live in my car, I was homeless. I used to live in my car with my dog," Carey said.

Ten years after getting off the streets and overcoming addiction, Carey is ready to give back.

"What this means to us is that we can't keep what we have unless we give it away. It's about giving back to the community," Carey said.

The event helped 500 of Lee County's homeless.