FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In response to the concerns surrounding homeless encampments and the rise in litter stemming from handouts, a proactive measure has been initiated in Fort Smith.

The approach seeks to address the issue by channeling community support through the “Change Helps” hotline, an initiative created by city officials to encourage citizens to donate instead of directly providing food plates and other items that often contribute to the mounting trash predicament.

The hotline aims to facilitate a more efficient and targeted response to the crisis, enabling people to contribute directly to a local center dedicated to making a tangible difference in the lives of the homeless population. Citizens are encouraged to contribute through text with the entirety of the proceeds channeled toward supporting the operations of local centers.

One of the local centers people can donate to is The Community Rescue Mission which aims to help the lives of those facing adversity and provide support services ranging from housing assistance to vital resources such as food, clothing, and transportation.

To donate, text “FORT” to 91999 or to report a homeless encampment contact (479)-784-1031.