The youth group of St. Paul on-the-Hill, Pickering came together on Sunday, March 13 to assemble personal care kits for the homeless in Durham Region. In the span of two hours, 12 teens and three adults put together 50 kits.
Each paper bag kit contained the following items: deodorant, a toothbrush, facial soap, body soap, Band Aids, a comb, and shampoo and conditioner. The teens decorated the paper bags with encouraging words and colorful drawings, to let the recipients know they were loved and prayed for.
Matthew Waterman, St. Paul’s youth pastor, says the event was also one more way to help the youth reintegrate with parish life after all the disconnect during the pandemic. “The teens brought a lot of creativity and care to their work and showed a real concern for the less fortunate.”
The suggestions for these items came from Gate 3:16, a ministry to the homeless in Durham Region. St. Paul’s supports Gate 3:16 throughout the year. This Lent, the church ran an almsgiving drive to collect urgently needed items for the homeless, like sleeping bags, backpacks, water bottles, socks, nail clippers and combs. The youth event that made personal care kits was part of the parish effort to help Gate 3:16 and its ministry. The money for the youth project came from the Love Thy Neighbour grant program, which is made possible by the episcopal area of Trent-Durham’s area council.
At a recent parish education night, Alan Perron, administrator at Gate 3:16, said that there are 226 homeless people in Durham Region, and the region has only been able to find rooms for 15 of them. The 50 personal care kits will help all those living on the streets while waiting for a home.
As Christians, sometimes we forget that Lent is not only a time for giving something up, it is also a time for giving.
Submitted by M.R.D. Bowman