The Walker Memorial Library at Howard Payne University has installed a new display on homelessness and poverty in recognition of Homeless Awareness Month.
    The library collaborated with the HPU Social Work Club to make the display, which features statistics and information as well as a model cardboard homeless dwelling. Library visitors can donate warm winter clothing and blankets to the Salvation Army at a drop-off bin next to the model. Brownwood’s Good Samaritan Ministries is also accepting canned pumpkin donations at the display.
    Sierra Spruill is the president of the HPU Social Work Club. She said her organization assisted Brown County’s poor population with initiatives like the Cinderella Project, where the group gives away donated prom dresses to struggling area residents. She said Howard Payne social work majors also traveled to Mission Waco each year for a Poverty Simulation, spending two days sleeping outside with only a handful of personal items and little money.
    “It’s moving, definitely,” Spruill said.
    Howard Payne Dean of Libraries Alexia Riggs said the HPU community was always very supportive of the annual Homeless Awareness display. “We’ve seen a lot of professors come in specifically to look at the display,” she said, “because they know this is something we do every year.
    “We like to remind people, when they’re looking at things that they’re thankful for, to be mindful of those who don’t have what they have,” she said. “It’s a good way to remember the least of these … We really want to talk about how, as part of the Christian faith, this is our calling. To take care of people who are in this situation.”
    Riggs said a large portion of the Howard Payne faculty was involved with organizations like Good Samaritan and the Salvation Army. She encouraged all students to give back to Brownwood.
    “While they may not be from Brownwood, they need to be aware of the community that surrounds them and how they can help and reach out,” Riggs said.
    Riggs said Howard Payne helped not only the Brown County community but also its own students. “We have the food pantry,” she said, “where if a student is in need and they don’t have enough money to buy food while they’re attending Howard Payne, or they just find themselves short at the end of the month—whatever the reason is, it doesn’t matter. Go to the food pantry and get yourself something to eat.”
    She said the university also held a free Thanksgiving lunch for the Brownwood community in its cafeteria each year.
    The Homeless Month display will be at the Walker Memorial Library through Nov. 18.