ClackCo children pack kits to encourage people experiencing homeless

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Hygiene and survival kitsHygiene and survival kits are “big help” for homeless outreach workers

In April, Clackamas County Social Services hosted the first “Bring a Child to Work” activity to pack homeless outreach kits. Children from early elementary through high school came together to pack hundreds of hygiene and survival kits for summer and winter that included first aid items, food, hydration powder, gloves, sunscreen, socks, soap and more. They also added their handmade cards to the kits. 

County outreach workers build relationships with people experiencing homelessness and meet their basic needs while providing them connections to permanent housing. Outreach workers distribute the kits in their daily work. 

“It helped so much to have the extra hands and made a difference to have the kits prepared in advance for our outreach workers,” said Matthew Furlow, Homeless Veteran Outreach Case Manager. “The kids really enjoyed it,” he said. “We explained to the kids that homeless people often don’t have access to these things to stay warm and have food. When the kids understood that, they really wanted to help out,” Furlow said. 

One child agreed, saying, “Some people may not have the things we have, and it’s good to help them. I’d do this again!”    

“We ask people what they need, and it helps them feel heard and validated,” said Gelinda Chernault, Outreach Program Planner. “People have shared a sense of gratitude and relief with me. It’s part of the long work of building relationships and trust to support folks in moving off the streets and into permanent housing,” Chernault said.

Hygiene and survival kits