Bags of Promise partners with Kingston Youth Shelter for bag drive

A youth led organization in Kingston connected with the Kingston Youth Shelter (KYC) for their second bag drive of the year. 

The team at Bags of Promise is led by co-presidents Brooke Baker and Celina Lovisotto with a goal of helping to create change for those experiencing youth homelessness. 

In February, when the group made their first donation to the Youth Shelter, they filled backpacks with school supplies, personal hygiene items and other small goods. 

They've tried to work closely with the shelter since Bags of Promise began in spring 2021, and have tried to focus their efforts on needs identified by the shelter. 

This time, the bags brought in were filled with non-perishable food items, which KYC Executive Director Anne Brown said is constantly a need.

The two Bags of Promise co-presidents said the organization has, from its onset, always been multi-focused to impact youth homelessness and the environment.

Brooke Baker said the idea started based on her own "back and forth" experiences with homelessness as a high schooler in Calgary. 

She said herself and Lovisotto began with the idea of replacing trash bags and it morphed into working more closely with the shelter.

"The whole idea of it was just for youth to not be carrying their stuff around in trash bags and to have backpacks filled with everything they need," Baker said.

"It's kind of evolved into meeting the ongoing needs of the shelter."

Baker, now a student at RMC, says she and her cohorts feel they're in a fortunate enough position where they should be helping people however they can.

She added that from her experience, the small items being donated can seem insignificant but really can make a big difference for someone experiencing homelessness. 

"It makes all the difference in the world," Baker said. 

"You don't realize how much a backpack, or a bottle of soap, or a can of soup can make that big of an impact on somebody's life but at that point in my life it was everything."

Baker was joined by Lovisotto, Makena Sceeles, Megan Stellato and Bridget Chau from Bags of Promise for the donation, as well as KYC Executive Director Anne Brown.

The items were presented in the temporary youth shelter at Mac-Brown Hall, which Brown says has been working well as they wait for their new space to become available.

"It's doing really well the kids seem to be happy with the space," Brown said.

"It seems to be working out in terms of keeping people safe from spread of disease so that's good."

There are 16 available sleeping pods, 6 of which weren't being used on Thursday. 

Bags of Promise said they're next looking at organizing a school bag drive for the upcoming year.

Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative

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  • Dinah Jansen
    published this page in News 2022-04-30 10:19:22 -0400