Editor's note: The following article was provided by the Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
Looking for an opportunity to help someone less fortunate than yourself this holiday season? West Roxbury’s Emmanuel Episcopal Church invites local residents and merchants to join its mission to help at-risk youth living on the streets during these cold winter months.
Emmanuel is dedicating resources during the holidays to help at-risk youth through a service mission for Youth On Fire (YOF). YOF was established in the fall of 2000 to provide a welcoming and non-judgmental environment for homeless and street-involved youth. The center is open five days a week and serves teens and young adults up to age 24.
“YOF serves the physical and mental needs of these youth by providing onsite hot meals, clothing, showers and laundry facilities, as well as weekly medical care, mental health counseling, disease prevention services and referrals to community resources. Emmanuel’s goal is to fill at least 150 backpacks with essentials to help make a big difference in the lives of these youth this holiday season, and we invite the community and local merchants to get involved,” said Jonathan Cleveland of Emmanuel Church.
It’s easy to help. Emmanuel is seeking donations of the following items for its backpack campaign. Items can be donated at the non-profit Boomerangs thrift shop at 1870 Centre St., West Roxbury, Monday through Saturday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Emmanuel plans to collect at least 150 of the following items. All items should be in new condition.
- Hand warmers
- Lip balm
- Knit or fleece hat
- 2 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer
- Notebook and pen
- AA batteries
YOF believes that through access to resources and relationships with non-judgmental, caring and knowledgeable adults, youth will reduce their risk-taking behaviors and, when they are ready, make steps towards changing their lives.
“The holidays can be very difficult for young folks on their own, highlighting the lack of family support in their lives,” said Ayala Livny, program manager for YOF. “These backpacks help our members feel cared for and supported during this season, on both practical and emotional levels.”
The deadline for donating items is December 10 so Emmanuel can assemble the 150 backpacks and deliver to YOF in time for the holidays. Emmanuel is also accepting financial gifts in any amount for YOF. Contact email@example.com with questions or to learn more.
YOF is a prevention program of the AIDS Action Committee. The program is located at 1555 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. To learn more about YOF, visit www.aac.org/yof or http://www.facebook.com/YouthOnFireMA.