Helping the homeless during the holiday season

Christmas drive for the homeless

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - A group of Lewis County students is kicking off an annual Christmas drive to help people without homes.

Christmas may be more than a month away but the Christmas tree at Lake Effect Tech in Lowville is already up.

The business is preparing to be one of two donation hubs for the 9th annual Homeless Christmas Tree Initiative.

Owner Josh Fitzgerald says he is happy that his business can help.

“Like most people I think everyone here has been touched by someone who either has been on the brink of homelessness or any of the factors that may lead to possible homelessness,” he said.

The initiative is put on by the Lewis County Youth Bureau, which is comprised of students from five Lewis county schools .

One of those students is co-chair Kallie Bauter from South Lewis Central. She says the initiative is looking for personal hygiene items as well as kitchen and bathroom supplies.

But some other items are more important than ever because of COVID 19.

“Baby supplies and cleaning items are definitely huge,” Bauter said. “Lysol wipes, soaps, hand sanitizers -- anything that could help.”

Bauter says the other donation drop-off location is at South Lewis Central in front of the main office.

Amanda Waugh is senior Social Services examiner for the Lewis County Department of Social Services. She says this initiative is great because it is able to help when the office may not be able to.

“Our program unfortunately has the paperwork and the applications that are tied to it,” Waugh said, "so this has been able to really help to meet those immediate needs that maybe I can’t help with my programs.

The initiative will run from November 20 until December 21. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

Last year the Youth Bureau was able to help almost 370 families during the holiday season.

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