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Woolwich Lions launch winter care for homeless youth

Lynn McLaughlin

The coronavirus pandemic has made life tougher for everyone, but especially for homeless people who have fewer options than most of us. The Woolwich Community Lions Club’s annual fundraising effort in support of homeless youth takes on a different tone this year, though still focused on providing those in need with a more joyous Christmas.

Now in its third year, the We Care program aims to help youth aged 16 to 25 at the oneROOF Youth Services, looking to provide much-needed items such as toiletries and gift cards to allow the young people to purchase what they require.

“We Care we’ve done for three years straight [because] there’s a real need there. … It’s hard when you’re trying to figure out ‘where am I going to live, and where am I going to get food?’” said club president Lynn McLaughlin of the impetus for the program. It’s [just] nice to be thought of at Christmas time that somebody cares enough to give you a gift.

“Woolwich Community Lions are here to help people. [Whether it is] financially, physically, emotionally, we’re really trying to help the community. And that’s what we’re all about, all we’ve done for years.”

McLaughlin notes many households are struggling just now, with parents out of work. Such stresses may be contributing to the increase in homeless youth right now as we head into the holiday season, she said.

Until December 3, the club is asking the community to help support the youth at oneROOF, an 18-bed, co-ed emergency shelter.

McLaughlin says small denomination gift cards – $5, $10, $15 and the like – are a great way for youth to purchase much-needed items. Residents are asked to arrange a safe drop-off for these cards by contacting the club. Monetary donations will also be accepted, and gift cards can be purchased on behalf of residents by the club. E-transfer is accepted at wclctreasurer03@gmail.com, or donations can be made by going to the Woolwich Community Lions Club Facebook page.

There’s also a focus on winter-care items, she added. Things such as hats, gloves, underwear (must be new), gently used sweaters, hygiene items (toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant), plastic cutlery, and hand warmers are all on the list as the club collects donations.

McLaughlin also says pet food, divided up into small Ziploc bags, would be appreciated for those youth who have animals as it is not feasible for them to carry around large bags of food.

These items can be dropped off by donors to Brian’s Foto Source (57 Arthur St. S., Elmira), or to 8 Mourning Dove Cres., Elmira and 217 Pine Grove Cres., Waterloo.

Click here for more information on the fundraising event.

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