Help the Homeless
Add Lifesaving Gear to Your Holiday Giving
By Sandra Olivetti Martin
Bob Kight has almost as much to do this season as Santa Claus. The organizer of the annual Help the Homeless Drive in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore and Washington D.C., is on the same schedule as Santa, but his mission is a bit different.
On Christmas, Kight makes deliveries of warm clothing and loaded backpacks to 6,000 homeless people in two dozen shelters, on street corners and in camps.
First, though, he has to gather the clothes and fill the backpacks.
Groups small and large are needed to fill backpacks — provided by Giving Back, the three-decade-old outreach founded by Annapolitan Linda Greenberg — with warm winter sweatshirts, socks, gloves, hats and thermal underwear. For homeless people, that’s lifesaving gear.
“We need over 3,000 backpacks this year and welcome groups doing as few as five,” says Kight. Better still, fill the backpacks and help deliver them to street people in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore and D.C.
Creating a volunteer environment for young people and families that is educational, inspirational and fun is Giving Back’s twin mission.
“Our hope is that all who volunteer with us will be inspired to also reach out and volunteer in other ways,” says Giving Back’s Steve Anstett. “The need in the world is so great that we can’t reach everyone by doing just our part. We must expand our reach exponentially.”
Alternately, you can donate $25 online to Sponsor a Backpack. A school child stuffs a backpack with these essentials and adds a card in honor of the person you name.
Second, start shopping — and clearing your closets
Desperately needed are good blankets, hats, gloves, thermal socks, thermal underwear (new), coats, sweaters, sleeping bags, jeans, backpacks, toiletries, baby clothing and infant seats.
Also disposable diapers, formula, toys (new only; greatly appreciated if gift-wrapped with gender and age written on the outside), strollers, high chairs, bikes, twin-size bed linens and comforters (new) and computers for shelters.
Deliver your warm gifts to Giving Back’s annual collection Saturday through Tuesday, Dec. 20 to 23, 11am to 4pm, at the Annapolis Farmers Market at Riva Road and Harry Truman Parkway. While you’re there, stay to help sort and box donated items.
Help this real-life Santa: www.homelessdrive.org.