By Donna McMillan
WILLOW Wyatt-Martin, a grade four student at Lakewood Elementary School, has been working on a special project for the past month. The Port Dover nine-year-old, daughter of Joan Wyatt – Martin and Andy Martin, is collecting a variety of items to fill 30 or more bags to be distributed to the homeless in our surrounding community.
Willow knew there were homeless people in Toronto but did not know that homelessness was a social issue in Norfolk County too. After learning about the local situation, Willow was inspired to do something by dancer Jojo Siwa whose giving has been shared on social media.
Willow had been saving birthday money to buy an iPod or iPad, she told the Maple Leaf. She decided to donate the $215 saved so far to her project.
She wrote a letter to Canadian Tire and received generous support. She showed a box full of soaps, hair brushes, toothbrush holders, Kleenex, granola bars and more. In addition, Canadian Tire gave her 40 canvas totes. The Super Store gave her a gift certificate. And, Sobeys is hoping to do a fundraising barbecue when the weather is nicer, Mom Joan said.
Willow has also received some new coats, as well as financial donations. Port Dover’s Cottage North Soapworks is generously adding to her collection by donating soaps, face cloths and towels.
Willow said she is also looking for first aid kits, blankets, power aid drink powder, canned stews and so much more. Her list, which has important items starred, include food (instant oatmeal, energy bars and granola bars); food supplies (forks, knives, spoons, can-openers); clothing (hats, warm socks, gloves, underwear); drinks (water, instant coffee packs, hot chocolate packs); toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo) and much more.
Willow is working with Jade Davis, Housing Support Worker and Community Dinner Coordinator for the Dunnville Salvation Army.
Haldimand & Norfolk Social Housing advises on their website that they provide Emergency Shelter and financial assistance to those who are homeless or are at immediate risk of losing their home. Their programs are delivered in partnership with the Dunnville Salvation Army Community & Family Services and are funded through the Province of Ontario Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
Not all homeless are living on the street or under bridges, although that can be the case locally also. They may be couch surfing or being provided with emergency housing in area motels. They may be young or old; single or families.
Willow is excited to help. Her project will be completed when she has prepared 30 or more packs, she said.
Anyone interested in supporting this project can connect with Willow via her Mom’s e mail address: email@example.com