Together, they sought help with Kanawha Valley Collective programs and Charleston shelters to get on their feet. Leyda, a mother of two, said seeking help gave her children a future. They are both taking classes at Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College.
Barker said sometimes homeless people are afraid to seek help, especially veterans who are returning from overseas.
"Don't look as it as a handout. It's a 'hand-up,'" he said.
But there's a stigma about homelessness, said volunteer Felicia Roark. Many Charleston residents go out of their way to avoid those living on the street.
"People don't even acknowledge them," she said. "People can just smile and say 'hi' to people and it could change someone's life. It can give them hope."
Roark and fellow volunteer Jennifer Starcher handed out bags and other items Friday night. They had planned to visit known homeless campgrounds around the city.
Noah, of Charleston, said he's been living under a bridge along the Kanawha River near Spring Street for two months. He and nine others live in a makeshift campsite, he said.
"We try to watch out for one another," Noah said, "and bring back food for those that can't get out and get it for themselves."
Homeless people, he said, are just like anybody else who have just fallen on hard times.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.