This year for their Parish Lenten alms giving, the St Albert the Great Newman Center of Las Cruces, decided to raise donations of back packs and hygeine products, as well as money, for Camp Hope and the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope. Mona Chip had invited Nicole Martinez and I to the Newman center over a month ago to speak to their congregation about Camp Hope and MVCH and inform them about the upcoming re-zoning. They all seemed very interested and enthousiastic about supporting Camp Hope and I could tell that we had found another great group of people that truly desires to help the homeless.
Last Thursday, unexpectedly, Friar Ray And Mona Chip drove up to the Camp with an entire truck load of over 60 backpacks stuffed to the brim with hygeine products, plus extra bags of soaps and shampoos and such. It was a little overwhelming as we packed the goods into our storage container. And later that morning Josh and Melody, two of our Volunteer Staff, and I spent about three hours sorting through the items and coming up with a game plan to pass them out fairly. We decided to empty the backpacks, because some of them were so full of items you could barely lift them, and we put all the hygeine products in boxes by type, so that we could hand out the backpacks and then let the homeless pick the products they needed. We ended up bringing about three shopping carts full of products into the Hope’s donation closet. This is fantastic because stores like Wal-Mart are no longer giving out their damaged goods to charity, and these products will go a long way over the next year for all the homeless that shower here and all the families MVCH helps out. Over half the Camp picked out backpacks that needed one and I passed out about a dozen to homeless that don’t live here, and have a dozen more still in storage for the future.
Here’s a quote from SAGNC’s website: Thanks to your generosity we have collected (as of 3/21) 65 back packs filled with hygiene items, another 20 bags of hygiene items and over $1300 for Community of Hope. If you would still like to participate, we will continue to collect monetary and back pack donations through Easter. As we shared a couple weeks ago, City Council made the decision to allow Camp Hope to remain open. Community of Hope now has six months to submit a final site plan for the camp, after which the community, including our parish, will have the opportunity to partner in making necessary site modifications. We’ll share more details as they become available.
Thank You to Mona Chip and Friar Ray for rallying this outstanding support from their community! We look forward to working with you in the future!