Iíd like to tell you about an on-going project Iím involved in for a homeless shelter in Manchester, CT.
One of the biggest needs the shelter has is for toiletry items. It occurred to me back in 2007 that I had accumulated toiletry items from stays in hotels that were a good size for the shelterís clients, and I knew people that worked at my then place of employment who traveled frequently and could gather their hotel samples for the shelter, too. This inspired a holiday project to make toiletry kits for the local shelter. I also contacted the stitchers attending the Mystic 2007 retreats to let them know what was going on so that they could bring in toiletry items if they would like to get involved. The end result from this little effort was no small thing. The stitchers brought in a lot of items -- in some cases creating complete toiletry kits from a list I had provided. All the donations were brought to work where the staff assembled toiletry kits. In the end, 108 complete toiletry kits were made. They took up so much room in my car that I had to make 2 trips to deliver them to the shelter in mid-December. The kits were specifically made up for either men or women. The shelter was so appreciative. There were miscellaneous donated items that werenít enough to make up complete kits so those were sorted and delivered separately.
I was surprised when I visited the shelter. I discovered that many of those using this shelter are recent high school and college graduates who have not yet established themselves. When you think about how much is needed for security deposits on apartments and the general cost of everything, you can imagine how hard it is for a young person to get established without family support such as living with their family until they earn enough to be on their own. Unfortunately, some young people do not have that option.
Iíve decided to continue helping this shelter by collecting toiletry items along with good quality used clothing that would be suitable for job interviews in all types of positions. I feel that these are simple things that most of us can do that will make a significant impact in the lives of others. I decided to put this information on my website so that any stitchers attending retreats could bring items they might like to donate and I will collect them at the retreats. The shelter is just about one mile from my home and so it is easy for me to drop everything off. If youíd like to get in on this project, here are the items needed in order of need (everything is needed in the personalized, individual-size):
Non-Toiletry items needed:
Menís white socks
Good quality used clothing suitable for job interviews
Vinyl Pillow protectors (standard pillow size)
Warm hats, gloves, mittens, coats
Perhaps some of you have a shelter in your own area and could begin a similar project! Itís so easy to do -- just contact your local shelter to find out their needs. They are probably similar to the list above.
Hereís a big thank you to all the many stitchers who have donated toiletry items at the many Stitcherís Hideaway Retreats!