WOMEN and CHILDREN FIRST (Birkenhead Drill)

“Women and Children first” is a code of conduct where the lives of women and children are to be saved first in life threatening situations or when survival resources are limited. The “Birkenhead drill” is associated with courageous behavior in hopeless circumstances. The phrase Women and Children first is often associated with the evacuation of a sinking ship. The crew and male passengers are to see to it that women and children are secured in the life boats first. As a society, we must expand our view of this mentality by using other dangerous scenarios (besides a sinking ship) that women and children are often faced with.

Women with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population nationally. About half of the homeless population are families with children. A mother responsible for raising her children without support and required resources typically heads a homeless family. Single mothers and children make up the largest group of people who are homeless in rural areas. Some of the major factors of homelessness amongst American females include domestic violence, poverty, mental illness and drug and/or alcohol dependency.

At Hancock Hope House homeless shelter, we currently have 18 homeless people staying with us, 50% of those people are CHILDREN under the age of 12 and 4 are women. As a society, we must not turn our backs on the homeless. By the GRACE OF GOD, I hope you and your children are blessed with a roof over your heads, but please do not lose sympathy and refuse to be empathetic towards the homeless. It is easy to go through life with an apathetic attitude, “YOU DON’T MISS YOUR WATER, TILL YOUR WELL RUNS DRY”. It is important for you to realize that the 18 human beings staying at the Hancock Hope House did not plan to be homeless or for their children to be homeless, a unique set of circumstances for each of them has created a life scenario that might be hard for you to relate with, but life often trumps the best laid plans.

I encourage you to help the homeless in your community. You can do this by seeking out organizations that provide shelter, food assistance and compassion to the homeless population and support those organizations by providing financial assistance to them, volunteer your time at homeless shelters, donate items like school supplies, gloves, hats, shoes. Make it a point in your life to not allow one child to go hungry tonight, make it a point to not allow one child to sleep outdoors tonight, make it a point to help those that are less fortunate than yourselves. May GOD BLESS you and your families and may GOD also inspire you to not turn your backs on the homeless.