A Chatham woman is shining a spotlight on the issue of local homelessness by urging people to donate Oct. 10 in recognition of World Homeless Awareness Day.
Rachael Laidler of Chatham-Kent’s Creating Smiles Network is urging residents to give whatever they can.
“If everyone in Chatham-Kent gave $5 worth of goods, then the difference we would make would be phenomenal,” she said. “The drive is about having many people do small things to make a big difference.”
Laidler said homelessness is hidden in Chatham-Kent but it has been estimated as many as 1,300 people either live on the street, in a shelter or are shuffled from one temporary accommodation to another.
She said a You Tube video inspired her to action.
The donated goods will be hand delivered to the homeless by the Creating Smiles Network on November 9 in Chatham and on November 10 in Toronto.
Businesses accepting donations include:
• Bowlerama, 100 Keil Dr. S. in Chatham.
• The Chatham Voice, 84 Dover St.
• Comfort and Soul Eats and Arts, 8619 Talbot Trail, Cedar Springs.
Laidler also arranges for pick-ups of donated items via her Facebook group.
For those who would rather make a donation, the group is selling butterfly necklaces and T-shirts.
Goods the network seeks the most are blankets, backpacks, coats, shoes, socks, food items that do not need cooking or a can opener, snack items, bottled water, juice boxes, toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, baby wipes, soap), hats, gloves, scarves, tarps, rain ponchos and cloth grocery bags.
Laidler said anyone interested in more information about the project may contact her at 519-350-6675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.