There is more hope than you can imagine in a single box. Youth Haven has launched the Boxes of Hope campaign. The campaign provides gift packages at Christmas to youth who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
“The packages contain items that our youth need including toiletries, gift cards, gloves, winter hats, hygiene products, even bus tokens, so they can get to school or a job.” says Lucy Gowers, Youth Haven executive director.
Residents can purchase a box for $50.
“Even before our kick off, we had people reaching out on Facebook asking us when the Boxes of Hope campaign was going to begin.”
Youth Haven provided shelter and/or outreach services to more than 400 youth in 2018. 432 youth who needed a bed last year were unable to stay at Youth Haven because there were no beds available.
“We are the only emergency shelter in Simcoe County for youth. 1 in 3 people in need of emergency shelter in Simcoe County are youth,” says Gowers. “Any youth that cannot stay at Youth Haven because the shelter is full is provided with a care package and assistance in finding a safe space, but it has become more and more challenging. Our shelter has 16 emergency beds and several couches in the living room. It’s not enough to meet the need.”
Over 80 per cent of the youth who use the organization’s programs are fleeing neglectful and abusive households. Of late, the shelter has provided safe space to youth locally who have been victims of human sex trafficking. Others are dealing with mental health and addiction issues.
“Each one of us can play a part to empower our youth with confidence and give them the hope they need to overcome their challenges and become successful adults.” says Gowers.
More information at www.boxesofhope.ca