CARE PACKAGES FOR THE HOMELESS '14
My brother, Conrad died in 2012 at the age of 38. My family did not find out for 3 months. He was homeless, and had been staying in Waltham, MA. He never drank or took drugs, but had been diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia in his mid 30’s. We reached out to him many times, but the nature of his illness would not allow him to accept our attempts or seek permanent housing. He used to reffer to himself a “hobo”. We frequently would go several months without word from Conrad, and the week before Thanksgiving, received the call from the Massacusettes State Police that we had all been afraid of. My brother had drowned in the Charles River.
Last year, to honor his memory, my sons & I decided to make care packages to hand out to our local homeless shelter. We contacted the Eddy Shelter in Middletown, CT and learned that they try to never turn anyone away in the cold, and will overflow to sometimes 70 people(!) As that was a bit more than we could afford, we very humbly created a go-fund-me and asked for donations to total $600; half of what it would cost to make the packages. We raised over $3700. With that money, we able to provide everyone with so much more than soap, shampoo and toothbrushes; we bought insulated gloves, wool hats, bus passes, laundry detergent, even $5 dunkin donut gift cards for 75 people. I cannot express how amazing it was; both the outpouring of support and the reaction of the guests at the shelter. Each care package contained 2 stamped postcards, and I asked everyone to write their families and just let them know that they were safe. One man told me he had not spoken to his father, who lived 1 town away in 6 years, but promised to write him that night. People cried. I cried! One woman told me, “A lot of us just feel forgotten.”
So with all of that, we are doing the project again. I don’t forsee a winter where we won’t. With the extra money from last year, we had some repair work done in the shelter, and bought them an industrial dishwasher. Any left over supplies were donated to the shelter in Waltham, where my brother sometimes stayed. This year we hope to have enough extra supplies to also give to the local warm-up station. It doesn’t take a lot of money to make a significant difference; a pair of warm gloves is only $5. If you are in the Middletown, CT area, I will absolutely come and pick up any donations of toiletries or clothes.
Thank you all again for your love and support.
Libby, I have a question about a donation. Can you please inbox me or leave contact so I can speak with you directly? (Kate Grogan Ingram)
Just when I think that the good in this world is exhausted ..... Someone like you comes along and restored my faith in people .... Thank you .....
What you and your family is doing for these people is so wonderful! This warms my heart to know people like you are still out there!