The change of season and accompanying shift in the temperatures indicate it’s the time of year for warming clothing, though not everyone is prepared to bundle up. With that in mind, the Woolwich Community Lions Club are starting an initiative to collect ‘WeCare Kits’ that will provide hygiene toiletries along with winter items to support homeless youth in the region.
Throughout the month of October, the Lions will be collecting donations of hygiene products and warm clothing from the public that will support the oneRoof youth services and homelessness organization in Kitchener.
“When you see a need and you have the ability, it’s time to serve, it’s time to share what you have,” said Freda Walker, membership chairperson of the Woolwich club.
The organization is looking for people in the community to donate items such as shampoo, toothpaste, tampons, deodorants, soap and anything that can help youth stay clean during the upcoming season. Additionally this year the Lions are focusing on collecting items for babies who need items such as diapers, hats, socks and wipes.
“Some of these young adults have children of their own, so they need more than just socks,” Walker noted.
All items and donations will be packed into plastic bags and then will be handed off to oneRoof so that they can give out the bags to any youth that drop-by, she added.
Last year, the Lions club ran a project called ‘Toasty Toes’ that collected socks for the homeless youth, but this year oneRoof saw a greater need for items beyond socks. With that in mind, the Lions are looking for more help from the community this time around.
“It’s a matter of getting the community involved, with many people putting it together we can be really resourceful,” said Karen MacDonald, the service committee chairperson for the Woolwich Community Lions Club.
The WeCare Kits are an idea that sprang from a visit MacDonald and Walker made to a Lions convention last year in Las Vegas. They were introduced to the concept of putting hygiene products into Ziploc baggies and distributing them to homeless people in the area.
“We brought it back to our community. We learned about it and we helped do it,” recalled Walker.
The donations will go towards oneRoof, an organization with a focus on supporting homeless and at-risk youth in the Waterloo Region, typically between the ages of 12 and 25. They also offer clothing at their drop-in location, as well as meals, showers, and laundry facilities to those in need.
With the program in its first year, the Lions hope the community will come together to support those in need by helping them stay safe and warm this season. There are two drop-off locations in Elmira, one at Guys and Dolls Salon at 112 Oriole Pkwy. W., and the other at T.W. Thur Real Estate at 45 Arthur St. S. Donations will be accepted until October 31, and the Lions hope to distribute the kits to oneRoof by mid-November.