Back to Basics Drive Helps Homeless
UNITED WAY’S TOILETRY DRIVE HELPS OUTREACH EFFORTS
Spring Hill, FL – January 11, 2022 – As many of us continue to thank our blessings around the holiday season, United Way of Hernando County and their Proud Partners can’t help but focus on the increasingly high demand of basic needs for homeless individuals here in Hernando County. Based on feedback, hygiene items were high on this population’s list of needs. Simple items such as baby wipes, soap, bug spray, deodorant, socks, sunscreen, toothbrushes, and travel size shampoo & conditioner are always needed. United Way quickly collaborated with partners at The Hernando County Public Library System, Pine Grove Elementary, and Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church to meet this unmet need and focus on giving back in small but meaningful ways.
The Hernando County Public Library System selected United Way to be the recipient of their annual “Giving Tree” initiative throughout the month of December. Collection sites were hosted at each of their four locations where patrons could donate assorted toiletry items hanging on tree tags. Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church also generously donated several bags of items as well.
Pine Grove Elementary School’s 5th grade students hosted “SOCKtober”, a sock drive that caught the attention of the whole school during the month of October. All students brought in donations of new socks for those experiencing homelessness. The students were creative and made decorative donation boxes in each classroom to organize the socks that were brought in each day. Their efforts amounted to more than 560 pairs!
Thousands of toiletry items were sorted by United Way youth volunteers. Several students came to the United Way office to sort, organize and package collected items into over 160 homeless outreach kits to be distributed. Kits were shared with Proud Partners who have clients experiencing homelessness. This includes, local Hernando shelters, food pantries, Mid Florida Homeless Coalition, churches, the United Way office and Students & Families in Transition.
"According to Hernando's Students and Families in Transition, a federal program through the Hernando County School Board, as of December 31, 2021, the organization has approximately 570 students qualified under McKinney-Vento,” shared United Way’s Executive Director, Angie Walasek. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary federal legislation addressing the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in U.S. public schools. Walasek shared, “Of those 570 students, Students & Families in Transition have approximately 37 Unaccompanied Homeless Youth that are high school aged. It’s small acts of kindness, such as this, that give individuals who are struggling HOPE that others truly do care."
United Way of Hernando County is grateful for our partners, organizations, and volunteers for tackling this outreach project with such holiday spirit.