Shoeboxes For The Homeless
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Student Life

Shoeboxes For The Homeless

Giving to the needy in our own community.

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Shoeboxes For The Homeless
New Visions Homeless Day Shelter

Shoeboxes for the Homeless is an organization created by high school senior, Emily DeHart. She started this project six years ago, back when she was only 12 years old. The idea of giving to people in our own community that need help really spoke to her, and compelled her to do something about it. Once a year, around the holiday season, she collects items from friends, family, and neighbors to give to the New Visions Homeless Day Shelter in Camden, New Jersey. Items for donation included toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and hair brushes), clothing (coats, gloves, socks, and hats), and non-perishable food (pretzels, crackers, and trail mix).

I was recruited this year to help collect items by Emily herself. Each person that helped out got letters to pass around houses in their respective neighborhoods, explaining the project and what kind of donation items we were looking for. Our goals individually were to hand out 100 letters and possibly speak with a business or two about donating items or money. I went around to half of my neighborhood handing out letters, and later collecting back bags of items. My return rate was surprising- I was thrilled to see just how many people felt compassionate enough to leave donations on their front porch step early Friday morning!

It was so exciting driving around looking for donations and handing my neighbors thank you notes for they did! The idea of starting to make a change locally is definitely something I see more of a need for, because people don't realize what kind of problems are going on in the USA, let alone the next town over! I am so happy I was able to take part in this project this year, because it made me really think. In the future, I definitely want to be involved in giving back to my community, whether as a career or just voluntarily. Giving to those in need and building relationships with those people by spending time serving them really gives me joy, and I hope more people feel the same! I had so much fun and I hope I am able to help out next year.


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