What do people experiencing homelessness need most besides shelter?

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Have you ever driven by a homeless person and seen an, “Anything will help” sign? If so, you probably assumed that money or food are the best things you could part ways with, but some items are more helpful than others.

Many people without homes spend their time outdoors with no access to essential care and hygienic resources that can protect them. In Utah especially, the harsh winter weather means cold days and even colder nights. Often times the homeless go days without a decent meal, a warm place to sleep, or even the opportunity to bathe. Imagine the feeling of having to go to bed on an empty stomach unsure of where your next meal may come from, let alone sleeping without a warm blanket or the comfort of a roof to protect you from the elements.

January’s Community Advocates, Evi Cardenas, and Estrella Mora, know a bit about the immense challenges of being homeless having struggled with drug addiction and life on the streets for a period of their lives. There are many essential items that can make an enormous impact on a homeless person’s life that aren’t immediately obvious. But with first-hand knowledge of the various things the homeless truly need, Evi and Estrella decided to team up and make a difference.

We decided we wanted to give back to our community; give to people that are less fortunate than us. We’ve had people provide Christmas for us before and now it was our turn.

Estrella on her inspiration to make a difference.

With help from their neighbors, coworkers, church members, and friends and family, Evi and Estrella managed to scramble together a hundred and twenty-five backpacks filled with goods to distribute to the homeless in their community. Each backpack contained essential hygiene products, multiple clothing items to keep warm, as well as snacks and sack lunches. Evi and Estrella were overwhelmed seeing just how much people around them contributed to the cause.

My garage became a warehouse. It was overwhelming. People really wanted to donate.

Estrella Mora

The giving spirit is always appreciated, no matter how big or small. To experience homelessness isn’t just to lack a roof over your head. Unsheltered individuals live without the means to acquire the basic human comforts of warmth, health, safety, and cleanliness. This generous donation organized and distributed by Evi and Estrella will have a huge impact on many of Salt Lake City’s homeless population. The Advocates at Driggs, Bills & Day wanted to shine the spotlight on Evi and Estrella for going the extra mile and advocating for the well-being of the homeless.

If you know a person who has helped someone in need, please fill out this form to nominate them!

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