When my mother was alive she always devoted her time and effort in so many ways. Whether as a Sunday School Teacher, a Caretaker, or taking in family members that were going through hard times she always believed in giving back and helping others. Every year my mother would work with the church to feed the homeless at Newark Penn Station. This drive is a way for me to carry the torch and honor her memory.
This year news reporters are predicting a colder and snowier winter due to a number of rare, natural phenomenon. As a result, the already harsh existence of homeless people is going to get a lot worse; its going to be a fight for survival.
To equip the homeless with items that will keep them warm for the winter months. The actual number of homeless people in Newark is not known; estimates by those close to the situation range from 9,000 to 20,000. Even if one chooses the lower number, the percentage of homeless living in Newark is three times that in New York City and is likely to be the highest of any large city in the nation. Crisis (a homelessness charity) reports that all forms of homelessness are on the increase, due to the economic recession combined with government benefit reforms.
Our initial goal of $5,000 will be used to provide backpacks to people so they have a better chance at surviving the winter months. We would like to supply 25 backpacks for men and 25 for women, as well as special backpacks for children. If we surpass our goal, we will work with other poverty relief groups (YMCA and local shelters) to help support additional homeless people.
Within each bag, we will include numbers for agencies and charities that can provide additional help, warm food and shelter
What's in the Backpack
The backpack will ideally contain the following items:
· Sleeping bags
· Winter hats
· Baby wipes
· Hand sanitizer
· Shampoo / conditioner
· Soap container
· Long Johns
· Toothbrush & paste container
· Feminine products / tampons
· Band aids / first aid items
· Chap stick
· Tuna / crackers
· Granola / energy bars
Without being dramatic, these survival kits could possibly be the difference between life and death for people who are sleeping outdoors. At the very least, they will keep homeless people moderately comfortable and warm and provide them with a real chance of gaining some self-confidence and control back into the lives.
I will be putting together an event for the homeless drive. If you would like to participate you are more welcome to join. If so, please feel free to reach out to me and I will let you know the dates and times.
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