Two young men in Kemptville are making an impact on the problem of homelessness in Ottawa by assembling and donating care packages for the cold Christmas season. The pair, Ryan Deville and Dakota Boal, provided information to the Times about their initiative, which they call “CarePackage4Homeless.”
“This whole initiative started when Dakota and I were volunteering at a low-income community housing’s food bank,” Ryan told the Times. “I have also been inspired, as I work with a shelter in downtown [Ottawa] and social service housing within the city. With this, we had seen what less fortunate individuals go through. This then led to us becoming inspired and thinking about how we can do more to give back. We felt that we have a strong support system of family and friends, and knew we could collect donations and make essential care packages for the homeless in the hard-hit Ottawa areas. This would provide them with a Christmas gift and many essential items to use throughout the long cold Ottawa winters.”
The care packages include warm clothes, gift cards, flashlights, personal care products, non-perishable food items, and more. When asked whether he and Dakota faced any challenges related to the initiative, Ryan answered that there are a few obstacles, “just like with everyday life.” For example, some weeks they have many donations which need to be processed, and other weeks are slower. The pair also struggle to find support with transportation of the care packages, especially this year, because donations have been much higher than last.
The support from the community has been significant. Ryan and Dakota are both lifelong residents of Kemptville and grew up in community-caring households, and they have been very happy to see that there are so many others like them in the area. The pair give full credit to the community for making their initiative a success. “With the help of everyone, we can make a huge difference in people’s lives,” Ryan said. The initiative comes with its own rewards, including seeing the smiling faces of the people to whom the packages are delivered.
Andrea Sargeant, a lifelong friend of Ryan and Dakota, reached out to the Times to share her thoughts on the pair’s generous initiative. “Ryan and Dakota are admirable, compassionate, and generous young men with open hearts and open minds, who are an inspiration to all of us as we head into this holiday season and beyond,” she said.
Andrea noted the young men’s ages, and pointed out that many young males in the Kemptville community see them as role models, since they coach sports teams, and have now even started their own charity, and donate hundreds of hours of their own time to noble causes.
Those who have questions about the initiative, or anyone wishing to make a donation, can call Ryan at 613-297-9117, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Both men’s public Facebook accounts also have many photos documenting the success of last year’s initiative.
Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times