How can I possibly put into words my gratitude for the outpouring of donations fueled by compassion for the homeless youth of Weber, Cache, Davis, and Box Elder counties? Hundreds of clean, slightly used coats, pants, shoes, blankets, gloves, scarves, sleeping bags, and personal items flooded our drop-off locations. Many started their own sub-drives, flooding my mudroom with large bags of donations. The items are being handed out and received by grateful hands. I've heard reports that kids are surprised coats could be so warm. You've taught them someone cares.
We've pulled the donation boxes, but I'll continue to accept items at my home or I'll pick them up. We need backpacks with reusable water bottles and personal items such as wet wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, shampoo, hand warmers, female items, brushes, diapers of all sizes, train and bus tokens, and any other item one might find in a 72-hour kit including sleeping bags. Any or all items are appreciated.
Where did it all go? There is only one homeless youth facility in all the counties mentioned----Ogden Outreach. It is only open one day a week from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.. More centers are being opened but only with very limited access.
Our dream is to create a safe place for homeless youth to sleep, shower, learn basic life skills, get an education, graduate from high school and lead productive lives. Education is the key to end most homelessness. The first step is to create a safe place where these scared youth can learn to trust enough to move out of survival mode and into learning mode.
I'm pleased to announce legislation is moving forward that will make helping homeless youth easier and more effective. I'm eternally grateful to our District 8 Representative, Gage Froerer. His insight, willingness to help, and the respect he's earned from his fellow legislators affords Weber County with many opportunities for improvement, including enabling us to help homeless youth.