Homelessness is an issue that has ravaged America and spread to even the smallest of communities due to poverty. Many areas, including Upper Bucks, in an effort to lessen the impact of such a crisis on local citizens have created support outlets.
The Upper Bucks Code Blue homeless shelter in Quakertown has been running for 8 seasons straight. It was started by the Advocates for Homeless of Upper Bucks, or AHUB, and serves people of the Quakertown, Perkasie, and Ottsville area. According to the coordinators, Les and Linda Rice, themselves have “served as many as 50 homeless folks per season”.Their mission is to provide warm food and shelter for homeless people on the colder nights where otherwise they would be left out to freeze. On average, they get six guests per night and have been open since November 6th and will be open till around April with the number typically gradually growing over the year. This year they’ve been lucky enough to receive 56 volunteers but need about 10 more to help every “code blue” night as volunteers both bring in food for the needy and stay overnight to make sure everything runs smoothly. The Department of Homeless Services defines a code blue night as “winter nights when the temperature drops to thirty-two degrees or below and includes wind chills.” So that also defines the temperature at which the shelter opens.
One initiative for the shelter is the fundraiser started by the Bylich family called “Caleb’s Cocoa” which began from the now 11 year-old Caleb Bylich wanting to help the homeless of Quakertown after seeing them around town. It happened on December 12th from 2 to 5 pm at 207 N Ambler Street. In the past three years, through this effort, they have been able to raise $7,000. The first year they only got $1,000 and that number has steadily grown since. The event this year included music from the Hudson boys, the Hawthorne twins, and Thomas kids and friends who played holiday classics over the speakers to get people in the spirit. They also had home baked goods from volunteers and hot chocolate to raise funds with all of the goods being $1. Those who attended could also put money in the donation jar. Volunteers through the Quakertown Community High School National Honors Society were seen helping around the event in the holiday spirit with some of them wearing Santa hats. Those who purchased goods also stood outside the event and spoke among themselves as they came together as a community. They earned at least $4,414.70 this year in a show of support and community from the Quakertown area.
If the cause and efforts of the Code Blue shelters interest anyone reading, then feel free to contact 267-450-4191, email at [email protected], or visit their facebook page for more information on how to help.