Every night, staff at the Springfield Rescue Mission emergency homeless shelter wonder if they will have enough space to comfort homeless people coming in from the cold. Every night the shelter is about to fill up, but so far this winter no one has been turned away.
“We have 63 beds, so I will say there is a constant need for shelter at our site for homeless people in our area,” says Rebecca Connor, events coordinator and development assistant at the mission.
People showing up at the shelter are the most visible sign that people are in trouble. Others struggle at home, trying to provide for their families’ basic needs. The Springfield Rescue Mission also wants to help them.
The agency launches its annual Operation Hope Tote campaign. The rescue mission is calling on the community to donate toiletries and hygiene items to people in need of these basic necessities.
To help you, simply fill one or more bags with new toiletries and/or hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap/shower gel, hand/body lotion, deodorant, lip balm, body powder, disposable razors, socks, brushes, combs and tissues.
“We use these bags to help people in our emergency shelter, rehabilitation program and distribution center. The bags are for anyone who needs them,” says Connor. “It is a great pleasure to serve people in need. It’s great to help others and make sure they’re taken care of when things are going well,” she continues.
The Rescue Mission has been conducting this annual campaign since 2003. The need has been constant and strong ever since. There are never any bags left. Those who need it all need it.
“There is a huge demand for hygiene items, especially with the homeless in this time of Covid. Hygiene is of the utmost importance to keep everyone safe. What we are collecting are items that we take for granted, but those same items are things that the poor and homeless simply don’t have access to,” says Connor.
Filled bags can be dropped off at 10 Mill St. in Springfield during normal Rescue Mission hours Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 413-732-0808.