Local teen makes care packages for homeless
The holidays are a time where people talk about selflessness, but a Windsor teen is putting her words into action. Mikaela Myers is a sophomore at Windsor High School and she’s putting together packs of supplies to hand out to the area homeless this holiday season.
Myers, 15, first heard about “homeless packs” last year in Marika Neto’s English class.
“Last year my teacher, Ms. Neto, introduced this to our class,” Myers said. “She does these every year, and was like ‘Class, I’m doing these homeless packs if you want to donate that would be great’ and I was like ‘Oh, wow, that is something I would like to do.’ So, last year I got really involved with it because it inspired me and this year I’m in charge of it.”
Now, Myers is taking the program on herself and she understands the importance of the season for her work. “For the holidays, homeless people don’t have much to be thankful for and I thought that this is something that would really touch their heart and give them some hope,” she said. “(So they know) that people are still trying for them. Most people that are on the streets don’t think there is any hope for them.”
The packs include both food and personal items, including warm socks, hand sanitizer, a roll of toilet paper, food items and hand warmers. This year, Myers is hoping to add different food items and items to assist with rain and damp.
“We had trail mix, but they’ve said that soft food is actually the best for the homeless because they often have teeth problems,” she said. “This year we’re looking for softer foods and rain protection like ponchos.”
While there is a practical need for these items, Myers knows the benefits are more that practical — there is an emotional fulfillment that goes both ways.
“One of my family members gave some out last year and they came back and said, ‘Oh my god that was fantastic he started crying, I started crying, it was a fantastic moment.’ I thought that was very touching. Everyone has said “Oh it’s such a great experience, for them and for me,’” she said.
Last years Myers created and distributed 52 packs, and she’d like to increase that number to 100 this year. She is hoping to get monetary donations to supplement that goal. “This year I wanted to make it bigger,” she said.
Myers is hoping her future career will enable to utilize her artistic side — she’d love to work as a set designer — but she sees herself as being involved as a volunteer advocate for the homeless on a long-term basis. She credits her teachers with giving her the confidence to undertake such a far-reaching project.
“My parents are really supportive and think it’s really good,” she said. “But, my teachers (made me think I could). Right now we’re working on real world problems and tackling them, so this is a good thing I can do.
“I really want to be involved in doing something,” she said. “Not just looking at problems but getting into them and solving them. This is the kind of thing I can take charge of and do.”
If you wish to assist Myers’ campaign, donations can be dropped off in classrooms C-105 or C-106 at Windsor High School, or she is planning to have a donation jar in the front office after the Thanksgiving holiday. In addition, interested parties can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or her teacher Catlin Tucker at email@example.com or Marika Neto at firstname.lastname@example.org. At this time, Myers is looking for financial donations in order to ensure that the recipients are getting the items that they need.
“We’re mostly (looking for) money because I think that’s easier for us to go out and buy the stuff we know they need, rather than people giving something that they may not need or can’t use,” she said.
Myers is also hoping the program will expand to other schools and groups. “I’d love to do any outreach with others,” she said. “The more people that know about it, the better chance we have of making a bigger impact.”
Myers will be collecting donations until Dec 15, and will then assemble and hand out the packs over Christmas break.