Help Project Christmas Love donate gifts to homeless children
As we prepare to give thanks for the good things in our lives tomorrow, it’s also a time to remember the thousands of people who are going without.
Folks without someplace warm to sleep, without food, without clothing, or without basic supplies such as soap, shampoo, deodorant and toilet paper.
The difficult truth of homelessness, as well, is that many are children.
The stats for the U.S. are staggering – In January 2013, 610,042 people were homeless on a given night, that have gone reported, at least, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Out of those, 23 percent (138,149) are children under the age of 18.
While it might seem such a large problem, there are people out there trying to do their part to help out those in need.
This Christmas season, Michelle Froehle, owner of Love 2 Inspire, is organizing the “Project Christmas Love for Great Falls Children.”
The goal, Froehle said, is to let the children living in poverty know that there are people out there who care about them.
Froehle is asking people to donate $25, which will give one homeless child in our community two fabric bags, a large one and a small one, a $5 gift certificate to a local restaurant, $15 worth of toys, gifts and personal care products and a note with your initials on it.
Froehle said she wanted to keep the giving anonymous as a way to let these children know that it’s not just one person who cares about them, but that there’s a larger community of people who do.
“Instead of it being this one person, which there’s nothing wrong with that, I’d rather these kids think, ‘wow, this community cares about me,’” she said. “We’re going to put little notes in each of the bags that say this is from the city of Great Falls and we want you to know we care about you. We’ll put the initials of each person who donates that shows someone did take the time and did think of them while at the same time the whole community is behind them.”
Froehle said people wishing to participate must get their donations to the new location of Love 2 Inspire at 514 Central Ave. by Dec. 5 at 5 p.m., so she has time to order the satchels for the children.
The items will be given to teachers in the area who will deliver the item to each child in Great Falls personally.
Froehle said the goal is to deliver 100 packages to local children, and 100 to children in Michigan who were left homeless by the flooding in Michigan that hit the area in August.
She said she became aware of how dire things were for children there earlier this year when she saw a friend of her from Michigan post something about it on Facebook.
“My friend lives in Michigan and they had so many of these floods and unfortunately, FEMA came and looked at it and somehow it didn’t meet the qualifications so they’re not helping these families,” she said. “So many families have lost everything in the floods and they don’t know what they’re going to do. I love helping our community, but at the same time I would love to help those children in that community also.”
Froehle added that part of the problem with reaching out to kids like these is that a lot of times hardly anyone knows about the particular struggles they’re going through, but she said there are ways to reach out to them even if you don’t have a lot of money to give.
“Some of these kids who are homeless, if they are they’re not necessarily registered through the Rescue Mission or they’re not registered through the Salvation Army and people don’t realize they’re there, but the people who do know about it are teachers. The teachers know really well about what’s going on with their students,” Froehle said. “Then so many people don’t know how to help. They think, ‘well I can’t give that much, but you don’t have to. If you break it down and say here for $25 here’s what a child is going to get, it’s a lot easier for folks to understand.”
For more information on the Project Christmas Love, visit it’s Facebook page, or call Froehle at 868-0417.