A group of volunteers donated 150 kits of hygiene supplies to homeless students in Pasco County schools earlier this month, and that’s just the beginning of its effort to help homeless kids.
Community Volunteer Corps is on a campaign to keep Pasco’s homeless student population clean and clothed. The group is seeking to continue to provide hygiene kits to homeless students and is now also seeking to secure clothes for them.
New Port Richey resident Dan Dede is founder and former president of Community Volunteer Corps, a nonprofit that has members from throughout Pasco County. Dede said the group started collecting hygiene kits after Erika Remsberg, homeless liaision for the Pasco school district, talked to the group about the number of homeless students in Pasco.
“We had no idea that there was that many homeless kids in the school system,” Dede said.
There were 2,606 students who were classified as homeless in Pasco County during the 2011-12 school year, according to statistics from the Students in Transition, which serves homeless students in Pasco. That number includes 393 children in homeless situations without a parent or guardian.
Remsberg, who heads up SIT, said that "homeless children and youth are those who lack a fixed, adequate or regular nighttime residence. Included in this definition are those who lose housing and have to temporarily stay with a host family, those staying in motels, people living in public places, substandard housing, in vehicles or shelters."
Community Volunteer Corps collected 150 hygiene kits that contain items like soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, and hairbrush and donated them on Aug. 17 to Students in Transition. Donations came from members, residents and businesses, Dede said.
Remsberg said 25 kits have been delivered directly to students and the other 125 are beng sent to 18 school sites around the county for distribution to students.
She has been in regular contact with Community Volunteer Corps and said they worked diligently to gather the donation.
“Without their support homeless children and youth would not have these supplies," she said. “These kits are vital to the children and families we serve. The SIT team extends a thank you with gratitude to the CVC for their generosity and commitment to community service.”
But Dede, a former sheriff’s deputy, said the group isn’t done helping out Students in Transition. Community Volunteer Corps is going to continue collecting hygiene kits and is now also seeking clothing donations. A full list of what they are looking for is located on the group's website.
Community Volunteer Corps wants to set up drop boxes and also wants to do a collection event, but plans haven’t been finalized.
For now, Dede recommends contacting the group through its website at www.flcvc.org or contacting them by mail at: Community Volunteer Corps, P.O. Box 540, New Port Richey, FL 34656 or by calling 727-514-3398. Money and donated items are accepted.
The group, which has about 20 members, is also trying to increase membership and welcomes new applicants, Dede said.