A group of middle and high school students from the Junior Amvets Post 109 of Mentor-on-the-Lake recently gave their time and talents to raise $550 to shop for supplies needed by Project Hope for the Homeless.
Project Hope Executive Director Judy Burr said it is this spirit of giving that inspires the movement behind #GivingTuesday. This year, the social media campaign is celebrated on Nov. 28 — it is annually conducted on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following Cyber Monday.
#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media to encourage the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities. The campaign provides a platform to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners — nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals — to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.
“We have seen amazing ways youth have been supporting the mission,” Burr said. “It is my hope that their efforts will touch your heart in such a way that you will also feel compelled to respond. An easy way to do so is to give the gift of a shelter night to an adult or child.”
The Junior Amvets held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Oct. 21, and on Nov. 18 they dropped off bags of items purchased at a local retailer to the homeless shelter at 25 Freedom Road. Afterward, they received a tour of the facility and learned Project Hope is a 50-bed shelter that cares for up to 35 individuals and 15 people in families on a nightly basis.
“It makes you feel happy when you’re doing something for someone, so I feel really good being here and knowing what happens when someone is homeless,” said Junior Amvet McKayla Meadows, 11.
The group conducts fundraisers several times a year, mostly for veterans’ organizations, said Junior Amvet Haley Howell, 14. She said the idea to help Project Hope stemmed from recent hurricane events across the country that left thousands of people homeless and that sparked the idea to do something to help people locally.
When Junior Amvets Post 109 leader Jennifer Jakosh inquired what her group could purchase for Project Hope, she was advised to check Project Hope’s monthly wish list. Purchases were then made based on what was needed.
“The Junior Amvets do a lot for organizations that aren’t always recognized so I think it’s pretty cool that they are really able to put themselves out there to really do a great thing and be humble about the experience,” Jakosh said.
Photo: John Arthur Hutchison, Project Hope for the Homeless grants and public relations coordinator, conducts a tour of the homeless shelter in Painesville Township for the Junior Amvets Post 109 of Mentor-on-the-Lake.