Candlelight prayer vigil for National Homeless Awareness month - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Candlelight prayer vigil for National Homeless Awareness month

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Wednesday night, two Eastern Iowa organizations are teaming up to show support and offer prayers for those who don't have a safe place to sleep at night.

The Cedar Valley Hospitality House and the Metro Catholic Social Justice Group hosted a Prayer Vigil in honor of National Homeless Awareness Month.  A few dozen people attended -- some of whom are volunteers, others use the services of the organizations.

"I know this sounds a little trite, but I think I'm able to handle just about anything at this point. But this is something different for me. This is new," said Dave Showers, one of the people attending Tuesday night's vigil.

Growing up, Showers never paid much attention to the homeless, or the problem of homelessness in Waterloo.

"It wasn't a matter of not wanting to, it was a matter of not having to. It wasn't part of my life. Now it is," he explained.

Recently, Showers found himself in his hometown, without a home, and he turned to the Cedar Valley Hospitality House for help.

"The need is growing day by day. We're seeing a lot more people come into our shelter," said Joni Hansen of the Hospitality House.

Wednesday, the group decided to move their prayer vigil from a park into the basement of a Waterloo church. The rain and cold forced them to change locations, and the irony is not lost on them.

"It was very hard to decide to do this inside," said Hansen. "Just this afternoon, I gave away three blankets and they needed sleeping bags and warm coats. They're going to be on the street tonight. And that's here in the Cedar Valley."

In fact, as many as 900 people in the Cedar Valley are spending the night outside, because only a few dozen beds exist in area shelters.

"Without them, I'm not quite sure what would happen to me. The running joke is, what bridge would I be sleeping under?" said Showers.

Showers is sleeping in a shelter bed Wednesday night, and he hopes to be back on his feet... soon. When that does happen, he won't forget who gave him shelter, and gave him hope, when he needed it most.

"So much has been given to me. I feel obliged to give back," said Showers.

For more information about the Cedar Valley Hospitality House, or to learn how you can help, click here.

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