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:
- body wash
- lip balm
- face cream
- hand lotion
- shampoo and conditioner
- hand sanitizer
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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org
“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.