More items are needed to help complete the 2021 annual Helping Hands Homeless Packages program before the Dec. 11 deadline.
This year’s campaign had a worrying start when it had received very few donations at its halfway mark, Chantal Meggison program organizer said. However, after a pivot in their online social media presence with word getting out, they have almost completed their 26 care packages.
“Our homeless population seems to be growing every year and getting worse and worse,” Meggison said. “The Transition House does so much for us. So, this is our way of reaching out and giving back, especially around the holidays.”
However, this year’s donations saw a significant decrease from 2020, Meggison said. During the same time last year, she said they had received four times as many contributions.
Each of the over-the-shoulder bags contains hygiene items, clothing, and food. Items include toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, blankets, gloves, hats, socks and food such as granola bars and bottled water. The bags are tailored for men and women, with packages for women containing tampons and pads for women. Each pack also includes a small first aid kit.
Due to the lower donation volume coming in, Meggison worried about getting enough clothing this year to add to their gift packages but was pleasantly surprised when the Prince Rupert Lions Club donated $10,000 in warm wear.
“Usually, we take all the winter coats and pants that we can gather. When we saw that, we thought, ‘Oh, thank God,’” she said.
The program is administered by Positive Prince Rupert - Civic Pride and is a volunteer-run community enhancement group, organizing and running community projects. Working with the North Coast Transition Society, they help distribute the holiday donations at the city’s homeless shelter.
Though the group has gathered almost all they need for their packages but are still in need of more. Any extra donations left over are still donated and make their way into those in need, Meggison said.
Donated items can be taken to 110 9th Ave. East. More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page.
Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View