Kids Corner program to aid homeless with summer food drive
Close your eyes and imagine yourself snuggled in the comfort of your home, surrounded by all the people who mean the most to you in the world and all the things you love. Now, imagine that your house suddenly catches on fire and you have to run o...
Close your eyes and imagine yourself snuggled in the comfort of your home, surrounded by all the people who mean the most to you in the world and all the things you love. Now, imagine that your house suddenly catches on fire and you have to run out with nothing more than the clothes on your back, and all of your possessions are lost....
That's what staff member Kyra Paitrick asked children in the Kids Corner School Age Child Care program to do last Monday morning to help them understand the concept of what it's like to be homeless.
Paitrick, who works with the Kids Corner program full time in the summer and currently lives in Duluth, went on to explain that being truly homeless means living on the street, having to look for food and asking for money because you don't have any.
She added that homeless people often miss out on making friends and forming relationships because they don't stay in one place very long.
She also related that the largest numbers of people who are homeless are children, with the average age around nine years old.
"Homelessness can happen to anyone," Paitrick told the children. "Why do you think someone might find themselves homeless?"
"Because they're bankrupted!" piped up one of the youngsters.
Others suggested it might be because they've lost their job or experienced a house fire and don't live around other family members who might be willing to take them in.
Paitrick related that organizations such as the Damiano Center in Duluth offer hot meals, a free clothing room and temporary shelter for part of the homeless population but added that at times many people must be turned away when the weather is especially cold and the shelters are full.
She said area food shelves are also a valuable resource for folks who are homeless or down on their luck, and she encouraged the children to consider what type of food donations would be most appreciated by people who don't have much, if any, of their own.
Then Paitrick introduced a friend of hers, Kim Crawford of the food shelf in Duluth. After giving the children some suggestions of the types of food most appreciated at food shelves, Crawford asked them how they might be able to help out the food shelf as a group.
Children suggested various fund raisers such as operating a lemonade stand to raise money and bringing in food donations from home. Crawford challenged the group to bring in at least one food item each, which would amount to 33 items of food.
She also asked that the young people write brief letters to be delivered to the children who come to the food shelf with their families, telling them why they donated the food and giving them messages of support.
The younger children colored placemats to be used during meal time at the Damiano Center.