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NIEHS Staffers Bring Help to Durham Homeless

By Eddy Ball
February 2009

Godfrey, Dilworth and Beard
Left to right, Godfrey, Dilworth and Beard posed with some of the cans and boxes of food collected during the holiday drive. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Henry, center, joined Godfrey and Dilworth
Henry, center, joined Godfrey and Dilworth as they braved sub-freezing temperatures to load the food for the drive to downtown Durham. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The bitter cold on Friday January 16 failed to hamper the generosity of a group of NIEHS employees who transported donated food to a shelter for the homeless in Durham, NC. The effort was spearheaded by employees in the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) via the Community Builders Committee and members of the Research Triangle Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG) ( Exit NIEHS, an inter-agency service group, who collected food over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Friday turned out to be the coldest day so far this year in central North Carolina with lows in the teens and single digits. It was the kind of day that inspires shelters to fly a white flag to indicate that everyone who needs a warm place to sleep will be accommodated. With temperatures that low, there is a real danger that people sleeping outside could suffer hypothermia, frostbite and even death. With the white flag flying, shelters also experience an increased need for food.

"We [in DERT] wanted to do something for the holidays," said Worker Education and Training Program Administrator Sharon Beard. "We took care of everything over here in Keystone [the satellite facility where more than 300 NIEHS employees have offices], and BIG handled collections on the main campus."

Beard joined NIEHS Project Officer and BIG President Veronica Godfrey, DERT Health Science Administrator Caroline Dilworth, Ph.D., and Superfund Basic Research Program Program Administrator Heather Henry, Ph.D., in the lobby of the Keystone Building. There they loaded the food and left for the Durham Rescue Mission ( Exit NIEHS, which has seen a dramatic rise in demand for services through its Operation Warm Shelter with the downturn in the economy.

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