SFA student who knows what it's like to be homeless organizes 'Walking 4 the Homeless' event to support the cause

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Stephen F. Austin State University student who was once homeless and lived out of his car is using his background to change the perception about homelessness and raise awareness for the cause.

Now he is getting ready for second ever "Walk 4 the Homeless" event that he started two years ago.

SFA senior Jeffrey Cooks is hoping to educate people that homelessness doesn't always look like what you might think and he should know.

"I didn't have a place to stay sometimes," said Cooks. "I grew up in a rough neighborhood or whatnot and my parents did the best they could. I love them to death but my mother got sick around I guess when I was 15 or 16 years old and we moved from home to home and the last home we moved from was permanent. All my stuff was packed in my car and I was a junior going on to be a senior in high school and I just moved where I could."

Now Cooks wants to make a difference and raise awareness by hosting his "Walk 4 the Homeless" 4k and event.

"Walking 4 the Homeless just represents anyone walking in the path of assisting the community and the people that have lost their homes," said Cooks. "I think when people see that a college student used to be in this situation and came through it they won't be so ashamed to state that they're in the same position and maybe they'll ask for help."

Now Cooks needs help from the community to support his cause.

"The Impact Christian Fellowship" organization at SFA is accepting monetary donations as well as clothing, toys and non-perishable food that will be donated  to the Family Crisis Center.

"Everyday people can deal with being homeless," said Cooks. "If I can I want the whole world to know about Walking 4 the Homeless and what it means to people who are homeless and what it means to me."

The event is Saturday, April 12th at the William R. Johnson Coliseum on the SFA campus.

There is a 4k walk or run upstairs and there will be a family-friendly fun fest downstairs with face painting and games for all ages.

Event organizers are selling raffle tickets for $5 or $10 and T-shirts to raise funds for the event and to donate to organizations that support the homeless in East Texas.

You can help by emailing: walking4thehomeless2014@gmail.com

or calling Jeffrey Cooks at 936-585-2042

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