2014-11-28 / Faith

Youth groups join forces for local homeless kids

Submitted to The Champion

Two local youth programs, 15 West Teen Coffeehouse of Leominster and The Tribe of Fitchburg, in collaboration with Wil Darcangelo, are joining efforts to create “The 15 West Coffeehouse Backpack Project,” a youth-driven initiative to support homeless youth from Leominster and Fitchburg.

They are assembling 60 or more backpacks containing essential items to prepare homeless youth from the Twin Cities area for the winter.

Both community-based organizations are composed of low-income, high risk youth and young adults who know firsthand the trials, tribulations and needs of homeless youth in the area. As a result, they have joined hands in an effort to support youth on the streets.

They are seeking cash donations, as well as essentials from the list below. People can donate money through their GoFundMe account (www.gofundme.com/gw9a70) or by mailing or dropping off donations at First Church Unitarian, 15 West St., Leominster. The youth from these two organizations will assemble the backpacks with the essential items. With help from local shelters, food pantries, police departments, fire departments, churches and word of mouth, the teams will ensure these backpacks reach those homeless youth who can benefit most from these Winter Survival Kits.

They invite local residents to connect with the homeless youth of our community who could use your support by donating the following items, or money for the costs of these items: Backpacks, $50; sweatshirts, $25; hats, $10; scarves, $10; gloves, $10; winter vest, $20; thermal underwear, $25; two T-shirts, $10; six pairs of socks, $10; six pairs of underwear, $10; wash cloths, $5; can opener, $5; miscellaneous supplies, $15; Dunkin Donuts gift certificate, $10, and hygiene supplies, $15.

Sponsors can donate the cost for an entire backpack with all items included for $200. Any extra money collected will go into an account for coats and boots to be provide as needed. Please drop off at, or mail donations to, First Church Unitarian Universalist, 15 West St., Leominster, MA 01453. (If dropping off items or donations, call (978) 537-0310 first to make sure they are open.) You can reach them by email at 15westteencoffeehouse@gmail.com. Either donate with a credit card on their GoFundMe account or make checks payable to First Church UU of Leominster, and add the word “Backpack” in the memo section.

Funding for 15 West Teen Coffeehouse is provided by CHNA 9, First Church of Leominster and AGLY.

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