By: Nina Campli, Assistant Editor of Student Life and Arts Photographer: Nina Campli
This week’s Foraging in the Forest features two seniors: Autumn Melvage (‘18) and Suchir Pongurlekar (‘18) who held their Senior Civic Project on Tuesday, March 27. The event, titled Hygiene for Humanity, asked for volunteers to come and make ‘Blessing Bags,’ which are bags filled with basic necessities for the homeless. The items in the bags included: toothbrushes, Band-Aids, cough drops, socks and, for women, much needed pads, panty liners and tampons. The bags will go to people in need at the Newark YMCA. In addition, some of the bags will be handed out by Melvage and Pongurlekar personally to those at the soup kitchen at Trinity Lutheran Church in Dover.
Around 25 or so people showed up to help, all but one or two of them were Civic’s Scholars. Jordan Hubbard (‘21) not only went to the event for Civic hours but also because, “I have always been personally invested in helping the homeless. My father was homeless so I always try and help out.” She added, “I have seen first hand how they feel loved and appreciated when people help out.” With a group of people to help, the process went relatively quickly as they filled the bags in an assembly line fashion. Each person was in charge of putting one or two things in the bag and then at the end of the line one person checked to make sure the proper amount of each thing was in the bag. Another thing that helped speed the process along may have been the beats Pongurlekar was blasting in Crawford. There were three tables filled with items and over 100 bags made, but nonetheless the volunteers flew through the process.
Why put all this together in a bag? For a person who can barely afford daily meals things such as toothpaste, socks and bandaids are too expensive to obtain. Statistics show that homeless people are four times more likely to die prematurely, with a life expectancy of 41 years old. Research studies indicate that homeless people suffer more from severe conditions such as pneumonia, diabetes and malnutrition due to proper cleaning aids and food. Things such as minor cuts or common colds have been found to develop easily develop into larger problems. After reading these statistics Melvage and Pongurlekar felt the need to act. Hopefully, this event inspired others in the community to do their part to help those in need.