As the wintery winds howl, Cedar Rapids junior high schoolers are learning about homelessness. After visiting a local shelter, students at Prairie Middle School launched an effort to collect unused items from around their houses to create care packages to send to the needy.
Seventh grader Caitlin Ceyner is helping add things like toilet paper, non-perishable food items and clothes. Ceyner says “I’ve learned that there are many homeless people in Cedar Rapids. I didn’t know there were this many homeless people. And there aren’t enough beds and things to go around.”
Jacob Auney is another seventh grader who says he likes knowing the efforts of a few dozen of his fellow students will be able to brighten the lives of perhaps hundreds of people. Auney says “I think it’s cool because I know someone else is going to use it when I’m done with it. So I’m not just giving it to get money. I’m helping someone out.”
Last year, the number of homeless people in Linn County shelters reached nearly four-thousand, its highest point in five years.