HCN News & Notes

HCC Clubs Deliver Care Packages for Homeless

HOLYOKE — As the fall semester concluded recently, representatives from four Holyoke Community College (HCC) student clubs delivered hundreds of winter care packages to agencies in Holyoke and Springfield that serve the homeless.

Members of the HCC Military Club, Criminal Justice Club, Radio Club, and Sociology Club created hygiene kits (84 for women, 86 for men) that included basic toiletries such as razors, shaving cream, deodorant, lip balm, soap, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, and sanitary products.

They also prepared 208 kits that included hats, mittens, scarves, and blankets and gave away winter coats.

On Dec. 20, they dropped off the care packages to the Springfield Rescue Mission and handed out items to the lunchtime crowd at Kate’s Kitchen in Holyoke, part of Providence Ministries.

“Hygiene products were the things the agencies told us were needed the most, especially by homeless people, who often don’t have the opportunity to maintain their hygiene on a regular basis,” said HCC student and Military Club member Robert Vigneault.

The items were collected in donation boxes placed at various locations on the HCC campus, then stored and sorted in the HCC Veterans Lounge. The kits were prepared by students in the days before the delivery using clear plastic bags so people could see what was in them.

“They appreciate wholeheartedly what you’re all giving back,” said Kate’s Kitchen chef Tonya Miller, who is also a housing administrator at Lerato House, a sober-living home for men run by Providence Ministries. “This touches my heart.”

Kate’s Kitchen volunteer Michael Porcello added that “people here really appreciate it. This is a tremendous gift. There are a lot of people who are cold out there. We take this stuff for granted, but this is a necessity for life.”

Jose Laboy collected several kits he said he intended to hand out to people living on the streets, as he once did, who could not make it to Kate’s Kitchen. “My mission is reaching out to people,” he said. “This is great. These people are doing the right thing. A lot of people need these things.”