As cold weather comes in fast so does the need to get warm clothes and hot meals to youth experiencing homelessness in the region. The Woolwich Community Lions Club is on its second run of collecting donations for oneRoof Youth Services, which provides safety and support for 12- to 25-year-olds who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of being displaced.
“With the weather getting colder, and the pandemic limiting fundraising efforts, the need is greater than ever,” said Valerie King, the club’s service chairperson. “Over 35,000 youth are homeless in Canada each year, and 6,000-7,000 youth will be looking for a warm bed tonight; we wanted to target the homeless youth as our service project again this year. “
A wish list for the holidays from oneROOF includes items such as gift cards, new socks or underwear, hygiene products, food and beverages, single-size bed comforters and art or school supplies.
“I think with the way the pandemic has caused us all to pivot, monetary donations and gift cards suggestions are our big ones at the top of the list – then they can buy what they need. The other big items are hand and foot warmer packs. Some of these kids are out in the street for long hours at a time. Clothing and footwear that are most needed are sweatshirts and hoodies, winter jackets, sweaters, pyjama bottoms. Walkie talkies, and I sort of understand how important they could be that if they’re trying to stay connected with some of these kids who might not have cell phones.”
Grocery gift cards and monetary donation were the first on the shelter’s wish list for the holidays. The full list of items needed can be found on the Lions’ Facebook page as well as drop-off locations that include Brian’s Foto Source in downtown Elmira.
“Brian, this is his second year helping us and he was more than enthusiastic to do it again because he feels there’s a real need. Brian’s Foto Source is our business that’s helping us in terms of collection, and then on our Facebook page we’ve also listed my contact information and listed there as well is the other chairperson who’s doing this with me.”
The deadline for donations is November 26, with King noting they would be happy to collect donations that may come in late to help support youth.
“We’ve had a wonderful response. We just kicked off on the 12th and already we have a significant amount of articles that have been collected,” said King. “[People] can message us on Facebook and we’d be happy to pick that up and drop it off at the shelter for them.”