A youth group from the Bethel Church of the Brethren, in partnership with the DuBois Salvation Army, came together recently to help the homeless of the area.
“The youth group donated these awesome personal hygiene items made with socks for us to distribute to the homeless people that we serve here,” said Salvation Army social worker Debbie Peterson.
Peterson expressed appreciation to the youths who are serving the community in a positive way and hopes that the project may raise awareness of the homeless problem in the area, she said.
“We usually have at least one homeless person a week come in and request some things,” said Peterson. “There’s certain foods that we keep in stock and other things we can give them. A lot of them ask for personal hygiene items, and this is just an easy way to give them a pair of socks and some personal hygiene items.”
Peterson said her eyes have been opened to the homeless problem in the area since she started working at the Salvation Army about a year ago.
“A lot of times, it’s people that have been evicted. They have nowhere to go or anyone to turn to,” said Peterson. “Some of it is because of drug abuse, they’ve just neglected themselves and they have nowhere to stay, and family doesn’t take them in. Sometimes it’s a family, there are different situations.”
Peterson said some area business owners will often allow the homeless people to sleep inside their buildings.
“We have some people that are fortunate enough to have vehicles, so they just stay in their vehicles,” Peterson said. “There’s more homeless people in this area than people realize. There are a couple of areas in town where there are tent communities, where the homeless also stay.”
Lydiann Spicher, who teaches a Sunday School class at the church, said she came up with the idea to stuff socks with personal hygiene items shortly after Christmas.
“I wanted them to have a project, and I knew they’d have stockings filled with all kinds of good things,” said Spicher. “We had dealt with some homeless people lately, so I thought well if they’d stuff socks for the homeless for things that they might need. One of the things homeless people need is a lot of socks. I think they just wear them for so long and then throw them away.”
Spicher made one herself and showed the young people what she had put inside them.
“Then they were on their own. We have a very small church, and they brought all these in,” said Spicher, pointing to at least 15 brand new socks filled with health items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, pens and some snacks.
The nine children who participated in the project said they felt good about helping the homeless.
“I think it’s sad that some people are homeless,” said Meah Mooney.