Homeless Teen Backpack Project
The Homeless Teen Backpack Project has transitioned to our First Principle Project.
The UU Teen Homeless Backpack Project was started in February of 2011 by a group of volunteers from UUGP and spearheaded by Barb Allen. Backpacks were filled with essentials a few times a year and given to 16 schools and 2 agencies in Josephine and Jackson Counties. Family advocates and counselors distributed them to kids in need.
Because teens tend to be a forgotten group in the growing homeless situation in our southern Oregon community reaching out to them with a “survival kit” was our first idea – Providing some basic supplies: flashlight, toiletries, first aid supplies, warm blanket, socks. Then we realized they could also use a backpack and that would be a perfect vehicle for distributing these items, also including basic school supplies
Between Feb. 2011 and December 2019 the project gave out over 600 filled packs. They included a warm blanket, socks, hygiene items, first aid kits, sewing kits, a bowl, spoon and fork, flashlight, water bottle, basic school supplies, a rain poncho and a few items for fun and creativity. This was a success for our small congregation!
One of our primary and most loyal supporters has been Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation. We are very grateful for all the financial support they have given our homeless teen project over the years. Thank you so much!
Some funding was achieved through other grants, donations from local businesses, as well as a monthly offering from the UU Fellowship, and the Fred Meyer Community Rewards Program. The generosity of all the supporters, in both funding and volunteer time to organize purchases and packings is what made the project a success.
Following discussions of how UUGP can most effectively serve the homeless and insecurely-housed in our community and expand our outreach the Homeless Teen Backpack Project has transitioned to our First Principle Project. We seek to modify rather than eliminate this important project. We have discovered that we are ready to reach out in a more targeted and organic way to the homeless in our community. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our congregation, we have the financial ability to make this happen.
This effort will help us fulfill our commitment to the UU First Principle that we respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person.