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Social Heart helps homeless residents

Social Heart helps homeless residents
January 11
03:00 2018

On any given day or night, you may find city native Cedric Allen distributing food, coats, gloves, or even hygiene products to those in need in various parts of Triad. While some may take what they have for granted, Allen says he goes out of his way to help homeless residents in the area because that was once him. 

“I’ve been homeless, so I know what it’s like to be in the streets.” Allen said.

Growing up in the Kimberly Park Housing Development, Allen said, he learned the importance giving back to those in need, from his mother and others in the neighborhood. He said when he was growing up when someone in the neighborhood couldn’t afford certain things, the entire community would lend a helping hand. 

“Growing up in the projects, we were taught to give back. It was like a family; we helped others in need and when my mother couldn’t afford certain things, that’s when the community would step in and do what they could,” Allen continued. “Because of the way I was raised, I’ve always been a giving person. Anybody that knows me will tell you that  I just love to give.” 

That giving nature that was instilled in Allen as a child, stuck with him into adulthood and led to the start of Social Heart, a local nonprofit that feeds the homeless. In 2009 with just $50 and a dream, Allen told several of his friends he was going to start a nonprofit to help those in need. He told The Chronicle that although several said it couldn’t be done, he didn’t let that discourage him. 

“When you have a vision, some people can make you sit back down and make you give up on yourself, but you can’t. And that’s just what it was. They told me I could not do it and it’s not possible,” Allen said. 

Despite the naysayers, Allen followed his dream and today Social Heart is known throughout the community for helping those in need. If you follow Allen on social media, you can see the impact the nonprofit is making. 

On Christmas morning, with the help of the Social Heart Family, Allen fed dozens of families at the Bethesda Center on Patterson Avenue. Last week when nighttime temperatures dropped to single digits, Social Heart hit the streets of Greensboro to pass out blankets and coats. 

With help from countless volunteers since 2009 Social Heart has helped feed hundreds of individuals across the city, state, and country.  Allen said just like the extended family that helped him growing up, Social Heart is looking to spread the message of giving. 

“I couldn’t do any of this without the community. Social Heart is not about me it’s about a network of people coming together to uplift our community.” he said. “That’s why I always call out my business partners because this wouldn’t be possible without them.” 

Along with helping the less fortunate, Social Heart has also been on the front line when it comes to fighting injustice in the area.

In 2016 it was Social Heart who first brought attention to the living conditions in the Rolling Hills apartment complex when they set up a protest outside the entrance, after the landlord tried to stop volunteers from distributing food. At that time city officials found a number of violations at the apartment complex in East Winston, including sewage backup, mold and rodent infestations. 

Since then new ownership has taken over the property and improvements have been made, according to Allen, who visits the complex regularly to distribute food. When asked why he’s so passionate about helping those in need and fighting injustice, Allen simply said because people helped him.

“When I was at my lowest, God sent people to talk to me,” he continued. “My grandma always told me there’s power in giving but you have to give from the heart.”

For more information on Social Heart or to volunteer, contact Cedric Allen at (336) 995-8298.

Cedric Allen is founder of Social Heart

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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