LOCAL NEWS

Volunteers Donate Christmas Supplies For Homeless, At-Risk Kids

Dec 19, 2019, 11:28 PM | Updated: 11:28 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Volunteers gathered to spread some much-needed holiday cheer to homeless children, as one woman who has been central to the efforts reflected on what initially brought her to the cause.

Volunteers of America, Utah hosted its annual “Fill the Pack” event at the Youth Resource Center at 888 South 400 West on Thursday.

Supporters presented backpacks loaded with supplies and shoes provided by Niagara Bottling to homeless and at-risk kids.

“They’ll have hand warmers, socks, underwear,” said Chief Development Officer Cathleen Sparrow. “Their eyes light up and it’s really cool.”

Sparrow said the group had prepared roughly 150 backpacks.

“At holiday time, we all like to get a gift,” Sparrow said. “This time of year especially helps keep it a little bit more special, makes them feel a little bit more regular — I don’t want to say normal but just feel like they’re part of the holiday season — and brings some normalcy to their lives at a time when everything is chaotic and they’re focusing on survival.”

The volunteer most central to the efforts, Martha Crook, said she initially got involved after her 21-year-old son, David, passed away unexpectedly a decade ago.

“I kind of had a difficult time doing things with all his clothes,” Crook said. “That kind of started me donating.”

Crook said her son was always a giver dating back to when he was little.

“He would go up to anyone and give them things on the streets or whenever,” she said.

David’s memory now lives on by Crook’s giving to others.

“He said he wanted to cure homelessness, solve mental illness and make sure everyone had a warm place to go for the holidays,” Crook said, teary-eyed. “This is David.”

By the end of Thursday’s event, several backpacks remained.

Crook said they would continue to be distributed at the resource center until supplies ran out.

While organizers said they had received enough supplies and goods for Christmas, they maintained some items and donations are still needed year-round.

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Volunteers Donate Christmas Supplies For Homeless, At-Risk Kids