student Grace Landers, 11, has collected more than 500 books and almost 500 hygiene items to benefit the Family Supportive Housing, Inc. homeless shelter located at 1590 Las Plumas Ave., in San Jose.
The Los Gatos sixth-grader donated 518 books for children ages 8 through 12, 64 packages of baby wipes, 337 pairs of socks for children ages 9 through 12 and 85 pairs of underwear for children ages 9-12.
She'll finish today, Sunday, Nov. 6, another drive through St. Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church, which so far has netted her low-income friends at the shelter 61 pillows, 18 rugs, four pillow cases, 150 children's books for children ages 8-12, $475 in monetary donations from generous parishioners and $170 from family and friends, according to mom Kate Landers.
In Santa Clara County, an estimated 20,000 people experience homelessness each year. Of these people, at least 25 percent are under the age of 18, according to the shelter's Web site.
Families with children represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, constituting approximately 40 percent of people who become homeless. More than 70 percent of the residents at the shelter are children and most are under the age of 10, the Web site said.
The former Girl Scout said: "I hope to do this drive yearly, expanding to additional schools and churches. Each year the drive will collect donations that are of the greatest need to the shelter at that time."
Grace didn't want to take all the credit for the effort. She said her Rolling Hills friends made and put up posters at school to promote the drive, sorted books and other donations, and delivered the goodies to the shelter on Oct. 19.
Helping with the Rolling Hills' and the church's drive were:
- Ava Acosta
- Monica Benton
- Ryan Cheng
- Franklin Jurasek
- Grace Landers
- Niamh Moore
- Eric Shultz
- Makaela Tanaka
- Megan Tobias
- Grace Vertin
- Colin and Meredith Hastings
- Sammy and Owen Leather
- Robert Scott
- Benjamin and Daniel Noel