By: Emily Bradshaw
OSWEGO, NY – Since the legislature meeting in September where I spoke about the lack of a homeless shelter in Oswego, things have been very busy for me.
I have also started a personal care item collection to make into personal care bags that will be distributed to the homeless through Oswego County Opportunities, the county Department of Social Services and the schools.
I have spent countless hours writing and mailing letters asking for donations from area dentists and businesses for personal care items.
And boy have they responded with great generosity!
Many dentists have donated toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss, which has been awesome! Nothing makes you feel better than brushing your teeth!
Other businesses have donated personal care items or gift cards so I could purchase the items needed.
Donations will be coming in from the Oswego Youth Court members and the Oswego High School Marching Band.
The recent 2012 Zombie Crawl collected personal care items from all their zombies, since zombies don’t use soap anyways.
The Oswego Middle School held a dance where they collected personal care items.
Kids who donated items were entered into a drawing to win a raffle basket filled with candy and Buc stuff.
The DSS building in Mexico has several collection boxes and the employee have been generous with donations.
When I found out Pathfinder Bank was joining my mission and is going to do a collection, I got so excited I started jumping up and down!
But I am still in need of donations.
My goal is to make at least 300 personal care bags by the end of October, which is a big goal but I am not afraid to go big.
I really still need: soap, shampoo, deodorant, razors, baby shampoo, powder and lotion.
I really enjoyed talking with Oswego City School District Superintendent Bill Crist, where we discussed homelessness in the schools.
We also discussed how having a shelter in Oswego County would have a positive impact on the students.
Mr. Crist was very supportive and said he would continue to talk to the other superintendents in the county to help push for a shelter.
I was asked to speak at the National Junior Honor Society meeting at Oswego Middle School.
Many students were surprised about the number of homeless in our county.
All of the students wanted to help, some are writing letters to the governor, while others are organizing a hat day to collect personal care items.
Everyone is spreading the word for the need of a shelter.
Earlier this month, I had a meeting with State Assemblyman Will Barclay. We discussed my mission to open a shelter and my passion to help the homeless.
He was impressed with my commitment and asked me to stay in touch with him.
I am speaking at the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club on October 19 and attending a COACH meeting on October 18.
Phew, that will be very busy.
Things haven’t always gone easy for me though.
I met a person who didn’t understand my mission.
He said cruel and hurtful things about the homeless to me.
With every hurtful thing he said, I could feel my heart breaking a little bit more.
My eyes were full of tears as I tried to explain to him that I believe that bad things can happen to good people and everyone deserves to be treated equal.
But he wasn’t interested in listening to me.
Even though I understand that everyone has a right to their own opinion, it still hurt deeply.
It took me some time to get over that.
I had to gather up my courage and remember all of the love and support I have gotten from my family, friends and the community.
I know in my heart that I am doing the right thing, so I will keep on moving forward.
Through the ups and the downs, the very busy schedule, and the countless hours of work, it has all been worth it so far.
I will continue my mission until we have a shelter; I will not quit.
How You Can Help
If you would like to donate personal care items you can email my mom at [email protected] to arrange pick up or they can be dropped off at Oswego Middle School.
Please donate, I can’t do this alone!
I will update everyone again in early November to keep you posted on my progress.
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone that has donated!
For those that haven’t, there is still time.