By Barney Blakeney
Project Street Outreach November 18 will host its fourth annual Pre-Thanksgiving event at 2025 Reynolds Ave. in North Charleston. Executive Director J. Denise Cromwell anticipates another successful event that offers a full course Thanksgiving dinner and an array of resources to active duty service personnel and their families, veterans, the homeless community and others.
Project Street Outreach’s is a non-profit distribution and referral service organization for homeless veterans/active duty and their families in crisis. It provides basic needs distribution and referral services for veterans and civilians experiencing homelessness. Project Street Outreach is a collaborative community response organization serving the Tri-County area initiated by Cromwell after she learned of the struggles undergone by an uncle struggling with PTSD. Cromwell was unaware of the adversities her uncle faced until after he committed suicide. She vowed to assist other veterans facing similar issues.
Since then the non-profit she created some 15 years ago has assisted thousands with meals, clothing, gas cards, bus passes, hygiene kits, sleeping bags and other material goods. And equally as important, it offers veterans assistance to help them transition from homelessness into homes. Partnered with various other private non-profit service providers, the organization fulfills its ongoing mission through weekly activities as well.
In addition to emergency assistance and the annual Thanksgiving Dinner, every Monday from 5:30p.m.—6:30 p.m. at 2025 Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston, hot meals are provided. Every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. — 6:00p.m. beneath the I-26 overpass on Huger Street in Downtown Charleston, hot meals are provided by Hotdog Ministries. And every Thursday, drop in barbering services is provided at Barbering Plus (1750 Remount Road, North Charleston) where Cromwell is proprietor.
She readily admits she hasn’t done it alone. Project Street Outreach partners with local churches, the YWCA of Greater Charleston and other service agencies from across the Charleston area. PSO is committed to seeking out and identifying veterans and families in our community and helping them to navigate their way to stability, she said. In 2016, PSO identified and served over 200 veterans and families in crisis. Donations to the organization are an investment in programs that touch many lives across the Lowcountry, Cromwell said.
“With the number of churches that we have here in the Holy City, I have estimated if enough churches are involved, each church can serve one to two times a year, which will help put a dent in hunger and homelessness,” she said. “Our outreach team could not do the work that we do without dedicated volunteers and donors.”
PSO currently is accepting donations of the following items: personal hygiene kits, new or gently used coats, boots, pants, backpacks and blankets, new underwear and socks, batteries and gift cards or bus passes. Additional suggested items that could be donated for the Thanksgiving meal include: paper napkins, cups, bottled water, plastic spoons, knives, forks, Styrofoam plates, take-out containers, large cans of collard greens, large cans of green beans, large cans of corn, sheet cakes, dessert pies and cookies.
Monetary donations are accepted at the YWCA of Greater Charleston’s website or office. Monetary donations must specify that the donation is for Project Street Outreach. For more information about Project Street Outreach, go to their website at www.projectstreetoutreach.org or call Cromwell at 843-906-8433.