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Community Impact: Bigger Vision of Athens

When temperatures drop in the winter, the number of people seeking a warm place to stay rises. Bigger Vision of Athens offers 35 beds each night to those experiencing homelessness.

The Jackson EMC Foundation recently awarded a $5,000 grant to Bigger Vision of Athens for its emergency shelter designed to meet guests’ immediate needs with shelter, food, showers and other basic necessities. The grant will fund services for one of the beds for 10 months. The grant will help the nonprofit organization with its daily expenses as it evaluates potential expansion, said Ryan Hersh, executive director of Bigger Vision of Athens.

Guests who may need the shelter can call daily starting at 4 p.m. to reserve a bed. “A lot of the people who use the beds are employed and can’t show up at 4 p.m.,” Hersh said. During their stay, guests receive two meals (dinner and breakfast), access to showers, laundry services and other necessities, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste. Guests leave the shelter at 7 a.m.

Bigger Vision has few barriers for guests to use the shelter, Hersh said. The only requirement for a guest is to be 18 or older.

To learn more, visit biggervisionofathens.org.