Hoping to eliminate stresses for people experiencing housing issues
Jennifer McGinn knows people can find themselves down on their luck in an instant.
Pastor Darren Sacrey holds a box while Jennifer McGinn puts a care kit in the West Side Tabernacle in Corner Brook on Tuesday. The other dropoff centre is SonRise Ministries. — Photo by Geraldine Brophy/The Western Star
They may have to leave their homes throughout the night for any number of reasons. When morning comes, they may not even have as much as something to brush their teeth with.
“You know it could happen to you or me very, very quickly,” said the Corner Brook woman.
While she knows there are organizations that provide emergency housing, these groups often can’t provide the basic necessities like a toothbrush or deodorant, items McGinn says are “very expensive to keep up with.”
Once she realized a need existed, McGinn moved to fill it by spearheading a drive to collect what she’s calling care kits — plastic baggies filled with personal hygiene items to be distributed to people in need, particularly those experiencing housing difficulties.
“One thing I am is a project manager,” she said. “I love doing projects.”
So she started by contacting local organizations to find out what they “truly” needed and asked, “What’s something that if you needed it last second, a handful of stuff, what is it you need?”
The answer: “The necessities.”
She then contacted organizations that deal with homeless people and was directed to the Community Mental Health Initiative and determined the initiative would be the best venue to distribute the kits.
Then she put the call out for help by starting a Facebook page devoted to the Care Kit Drive, facebook.com/events/437330739703841/, to ask people to donate kits. She said for about $8, people can pick up everything that’s needed at a discount store. And the project is something businesses, community organizations and sports groups can get involved with.
She’s also enlisted help from her church, the West Side Tabernacle on Elizabeth Street, and from SonRise Ministries on Wellington Street. The two churches serve as dropoff locations for the kits. McGinn said anyone unable to get to one of those locations can contact her through the Facebook group to arrange pickup.
McGinn is very strong in her faith and credits God with moving her to do this.
“God put the idea and passion in me,” she said, adding a lot of that passion comes from doing her devotions on a daily basis.
“I’ve really found myself in the place to be able to do these things.”
McGinn is running the drive until Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.
“I figured the perfect day to end this is the day of love,” she said.
“What a great way for our community to show this population that we love them and we care about them and they’re not forgotten.”