Belmont High Seniors Seek Donated Supplies To Help Women In Need At Rosie’s Place. [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont High rising seniors (from left) Eva Gruia, Reese Campbell, and Melis Demirtas are collecting women’s essential goods through Aug. 16 to donate to Rosie’s Place in Boston

For many, summer is a time for getting out into the hot sunshine, sweating a lot before heading indoors for one of a couple of showers in the comfort of an air-conditioned home.

But for poor and homeless women – on the streets or with nowhere cool and safe to go – the season’s intense sun, heat, and humidity create hygienic issues that many do not think of daily. In addition to dehydration and sunburn, the risk of rash and infections increases without running water or a place to clean up. A recent study reported that those without a reliable way of personal hygiene have a higher rate of mental health concerns.

Three rising Belmont High seniors are working to help those homeless and in-need women who lack simple health supplies. From now until Wednesday, Aug. 16, Reese Campbell, Eva Gruia, and Melos Demiras have set up a drop box behind Belmont Center’s Champion Sporting Goods adjacent to the Claflin Street parking lot to collect women’s essential goods that will be donated to Rosie’s Place, the largest women’s shelter in New England.

“This summer, I have been volunteering [at Rosie’s Place], and it is heartbreaking to see how many people need essential goods,” said Campbell. She said the donated supplies will be used to create care packages to distribute to women who need them.

At this time, the shelter is explicitly looking for full-sized and unused items listed below:


  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • floss
  • deodorant
  • soap
  • body wash
  • lip balm
  • face cream
  • hand lotion
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • hand sanitizer
  • wipes

So far, the friends have received 444 donated items, resulting in 20 care packages with a goal of presenting 100 packages to women in need.

Packages with donated supplies heading to Rosie’s Place (credit: Reese Campbell)

“We are asking people to donate at least one item to make a big difference,” said Campbell. “I feel like because these [items are] very rarely accessible to us, we don’t realize the importance of our everyday lives.”

“We are really grateful that Champions has been very supportive of the drive,” said Campbell. “Gerry Dickhaut, the current owner, and Andy Pollock, one of the future owners of the store, were both one of the first people to donate many items to our cause.”

The soon-to-be seniors have been posting progress updates on Instagram @shelteringheartsproject. 

If people want us to pick up items from their house, they can arrange it by emailing

“All three of us are very fortunate to be living in Belmont and have many opportunities around us. And we want to use our free time to help other people that might not be as fortunate as we are because we can give back, and that’s what we should be doing,” said Campbell.

St. Joseph Hosting Forum on The Many Faces of Homelessness This Sunday

Photo: Everyone should have a home.

With three-quarters of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings to draw on, the specter of homelessness is as close as losing a job, a medical emergency or some other unexpected event.

To raise awareness of the unprecedented growth in the number of homeless families and individuals in Massachusetts, the Tricommunity Coalition to End Homelessness is sponsoring “The Many Faces of Homelessness,” a forum to discuss homelessness in the communities of Belmont, Waltham and Watertown.

 The forum will be held on Sunday, April 26, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish Hall, 130 Common St.

Supported by local civic and religious organizations, the event focuses attention on the realities of the homeless populations in our towns. The founding members of the Tricommunity Coalition include New Roads Catholic Community (the parishes of St. Joseph and St. Luke) and the Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness.

Doors will open at 1 pm for refreshments and an opportunity to meet with representatives from more than a dozen organizations that serve the homeless in our communities who will staff exhibits and provide information on their work. This will also offer an opportunity for individuals attending the forum to become involved in programs that assist homeless individuals and families.

Libby Hayes, Executive Director of Homes for Families and advocate for improving housing options, is the keynote speaker. Representatives from local social service, housing and public safety organizations will participate on a panel to discuss their programs’ impact on homeless families, individuals and youth. Panelists include:

  • Tori LaPon from Mary House, a family shelter in Waltham;  
  • Brian Costello, director of the Watertown Housing Authority;  
  • Sgt. Robert Scarpone, Waltham Area Homeless Assistance Coalition;  
  • Dick Rogers, Bristol Lodge Men’s and Women’s Shelter; 
  • Ann Copeman, Homeless Student representative, Waltham Public Schools
  • Julie Land, Waltham Day Center.

Individuals who have been homeless will share their experiences.

Local legislators State Sen. Will Brownsberger and State Reps. Dave Rogers, John Lawn, and Jonathan Hecht will offer their perspectives on pending legislation and respond to questions from attendees.