What do you say to your kid when you’re stopped at a traffic light on the I-35 frontage road and they ask why that person is holding a sign asking for money? It’s a question that Amber Fogarty gets a lot. She’s been a homeless advocate in Austin for the last eight years.
“I tell them to be honest,” Fogarty says. “I also tell them that if they don’t know how to be honest, to try to find the answers.”
Fogarty is helping to organize an event this Saturday she hopes will provide some of those answers. The ECHO Family Festival will give children a chance to put together hygiene kits that will be distributed by Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
Families will also be decorating holiday cards and ornaments to distribute to some of the 2,000 homeless children served by AISD’s Project Help. The school district estimates there are actually between 3,000 and 5,000 homeless children among its 86,000 students, but only 1965 came forward to be counted last school year.
“Maybe they’ve had some difficult circumstances in their lives,” Fogarty says, “but they’re people just like us.”
The event runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Ignatius Family Center at 126 W. Oltorf Street. A $5 donation per family is recommended.