When investigative reporters hear of something shocking, they want to dig in and learn more. Often, after that, they want to tell others so their reporting can make a difference.
This happened when one of our NPC board members heard the disturbing fact that over one thousand children in our local schools have been identified as homeless. The actual figure is likely much higher, as many parents, fearing their children might be taken from them, won’t report their homeless status.
Lest you automatically picture these children in Immokalee, let me say right now that ninety percent of them live in Naples. Every single school in the Collier County system reports homeless children attend there. Many sleep in a vehicle, with someone in the family moving the car every few hours. The kids wash their faces and brush teeth in a gas station restroom before heading to school. If they’re lucky, they might get to a truck stop with shower facilities once a week. Or maybe not.
Many faith-based organizations and non-profits provide food for these families. What often is overlooked is their need for toiletries—soap, shampoo, toothpaste and brush, deodorant, even make-up and cologne.
That’s where NPC can help. The board approved publicizing this issue and requesting that NPC members donate toiletries at one of our summer mixers—or, who knows, maybe all of them. Most of us have stowed in our cabinets unused products gleaned from hotels and cruise ships. Bring them. Better yet, every time you buy yourself some toiletries you can’t live without, buy an extra bottle or two for those who DO live without them. I’d like to see this continue at all our meetings throughout the year and hope you will, too.
That’s it. I’ll take it from there and get the collected items to a group that will sort, pack and deliver the much-needed staples for distribution by the school system’s “Homeless Education Liaison.” I didn’t know the schools even employed such a person. Did you?
Help NPC make a difference. I expect it will make you feel good. I know it will make me feel better.