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HomeNewsCreating ‘Backpacks of Love’ for the homeless in North Bay

Creating ‘Backpacks of Love’ for the homeless in North Bay

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A local group is looking to address some of the immediate needs of the city’s homeless population.

The Compassionate Committee for the Homeless in North Bay has started a new campaign, filling backpacks with donated new essential items.

Rebecca Riesen, lead coordinator of the Backpacks of Love Campaign, says they wanted to add to the services that are already being provided and consulted with various groups like HOPES Kitchen, Boots on the Ground, The Gathering Place and others.

“The people who are really front-line with the homeless and we gathered a list of immediate needs that the homeless needed. We thought the best way to address these needs is to put together what we’re calling ‘Backpacks of Love’,” she says.

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The goal is to fill and distribute 200 backpacks.

“We’re going to start handing them out as we get them and fill them, and also if we have such a great success because we do have more than 200 homeless, this will probably be an ongoing thing because the needs of the homeless change according to the season as well,” Reisen says.

Their first drop-off session for donated new essential items, including hygiene products, hats, tarps and much more, takes place Saturday, June 26th, 2021 from 1-3 pm at the New Apostolic Church on Joseph Street.

Here is the list of requested items:

  • backpacks (sturdy 30 to 45L)
  • silver emergency blankets
  • tarps
  • small flashlights with batteries
  • lip balm
  • deodorant
  • hairbrushes
  • toilet paper
  • feminine hygiene products
  • socks (3 pairs light, 3 pairs heavy)
  • reusable bags
  • drawstring bags
  • reusable water bottles
  • mini first aid kits
  • packages of masks
  • rain ponchos
  • sun hats/ball caps
  • cream bug repellent
  • cream sunscreen
  • toothpaste
  • towelettes/wipes

Riesen says the list of new items they’re requesting for donation is also available on the Compassionate Committee’s Facebook page.

The committee was formed in the winter and is made up of the faithful from churches primarily in North Bay’s downtown.

“There are representatives from eight different churches on the current committee and the idea behind it is to help in any way we can to end the homelessness epidemic here in North Bay,” Riesen says.

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