November is National Homeless Youth Awareness month. Did you know that right now there are over one million homeless children in the US, and about 13 of these children die alone on the streets every day. As we sit snug and warn, overfed from our Thanksgiving meal, they are cold, hungry, scared, and alone. Desperate to find a place to eat, shower, sleep and wishing for a home.
Malnutrition is only one of the health threats these children face, but it can have long-lasting consequences. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), teens are at high risk for diseases such as osteoporosis later in life due to lack of calcium in their diets now. Diets loaded in saturated fats and high in sugar can also lead to chronic diseases such as Diabetes. It's hard to think about nutrition though when you have no place to sleep for the night and you have no idea of where you next meal may come from.
Thankfully, people do care, and a special organization named StandUp For Kids exists to help these homeless youth,as well as those at risk for becoming homeless. StandUp for Kids is a nationally recognized nonprofit volunteer organization, committed to the rescue of homeless and street kids. For more than 18 years, StandUp for Kids on-the-streets outreach efforts have worked to find, stabilize and otherwise help homeless and street kids improve their lives. Just this past year, a branch has opened up here in Birmingham.
According to Amy Knox, Director of Volunteers for the newly formed group, the need here in our own town is very great. Right now, the group is focusing on setting up drives for collecting materials needed for supply packs, a sort of care package, that they can hand out to the street kids that they are trying to reach. Providing these packs in a safe, low-key way is one way that the group hopes to have the kids begin to trust them, and that they will spread the word on the streets so that additional kids may be helped.
The Girls Minority Achievement Council at Spain Park High School is going to host a drive December 3rd through the 9th, but you don't have to wait for a specific drive to help. Items for the care packages can be dropped off at Decatur Highway Church of Christ, 1750 Decatur Highway, Gardendale, AL 35071. The wish list is posted on the website, and I have also included it at the bottom of this article. Wish there was a more convenient drop off spot? Think you or your church or civic group might be able to help? Contact Amy and make it happen! Think your workplace might contribute? StandUp For Kids is proud to participate in the 2009 Combine Federal Campaign (CFC). Please designate part or all of your contribution to StandUp For Kids and tell your friends to select StandUp For Kids, Designation #10949, as your charity in the CFC.
You can donate money by clicking here, donate old cell phones, cars or other items here, or donate $5.00 via text by simply texting "STANDUP" to 85944!
A one-time donation of $5 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Standard messaging rates and additional fees may apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the StandUp For Kids by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to 85944.
You can help what society often considers "the least of these", and personally, I can't think of a better way to show your thanks this Thanksgiving.
Please see the sidebar for helpful links, and the list below for supplies that are needed. Please keep these items in mind as you do your "Black Friday" shopping this week!
Outreach Food Packets
Small Serving Sizes
- 1 Moist Towelette
- 2 Juice (small carton w/straw)
- 1 Small (pop top) Pudding/Fruit Cup
- 1 Chocolate Candy Bar
- 1 Small (pop top) Beenie Weenie / Spaghetti etc.
- 1 Napkin & Plastic Ware Packet
- 1 Granola Bar
- 1 Small Box of Raisins
- 1 Package of Gum
- 1 Package of Chips
Please provide in the small TRAVEL SIZES
- Deodorant (male and female)
- Lip Balm
- Disposable Razor
- Single Packs of Vitamins (Multi-Vitamins)
- Small Shampoo
- Small Conditioner
- Toothbrush - Toothpaste - Dental Floss
- Sun Screen
- Feminine Products
- Small Soap
Providing some of the above items, to help us make packets is also greatly appreciated!
First Aid Kits
- 2 Small Band Aids
- 2 Alcohol/Benadine Prep Pads
- 1 Small First Aid Cream
- 2 Large Band Aids
- 2 Small Gauze Packets
- Small Sewing Kits
- 1 Medium Needle
- 3 Colors of Thread (Also, dental floss if possible)
- 4 buttons
We need clothing items for the kids on a regular basis. These are the most frequently used items that we never seem to have enough of (need sizes to fit teenagers):
- Large or X-Large Hooded Sweatshirts
- Large Jeans
- Underwear (Bras, Panties, Boxers)
- Sleeping Bags