Myrtle Beach police, community outreach group host event to educate public about addiction, homelessness

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:57 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 11:16 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Police Department and the Coordinated Effort hosted a Night of Knowledge on Thursday night at Midtown Vineyard Church.

The event is the fourth one since the end of 2021 and is meant to be an educational space where community members and professionals can come together to discuss issues like drug addiction, alcohol abuse and homelessness.

Kathy, a panelist, talked about her experiences and the importance of a support system and being informed.

“It was my family who helped me to get to where I am and to continue to get better,” Kathy said. “My family has expanded now obviously, my family is my community, my co-workers, my neighbors, who are all very supportive. So the more we know and the more we ask questions, the better we’re all going to be.”

Organizations like New Directions, the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services participated in the event.

It was a town hall format-- professionals and survivors on a panel spoke to community members and set up tables for community members to learn more information about the organizations.

Doctor Ann Gowdy led the panel discussion from Eastern Carolina Housing Organization.

Christy Morris, outreach and missions pastor at Midtown Vineyard Church, said the church looks forward to more community involvement in events like this.

“We also, more and more, are getting people from the community, whether it be from churches or other organizations, that want to be a part of, you know, helping the homeless crisis, the opioid crisis, mental health, that kind of thing,” said Morris.

MBPD said the Night of Knowledge can be an eye-opening event for those who may not understand the severity of addiction and want to learn about ways to help loved ones who struggle with it.

“If they know of anybody in need or are trying to help somebody if they’re a church and they have an outreach ministry like we do and are trying to help people, they can get all of the resources and information they need,” said Morris.

MBPD said the outcomes of previous Nights of Knowledge have been positive.

These events usually happen quarterly, and the next one will likely occur in April.