Students pack hygiene products for Coastside Hope. By Sarah Griego Guz.
Sixth-grade students from Sea Crest School gathered outside Coastside Hope’s warehouse in Princeton on May 17 with a clear purpose in mind. For over a month, the civic-minded children had been doggedly collecting hygiene supplies for needy families. This was the day that they would package the supplies into “kits” so that they could be given to people in need.
As they stood around a horseshoe of work tables, the students listened as Coastside Hope’s Community Development Director Keith Terry provided insight.
Terry explained that Coastside Hope was started in 1976 and is now considered to be a core agency within San Mateo County.
“Coastside Hope takes care of the Midcoast, which is basically Montara down to La Honda,” said Terry, addressing the students. “Last year we gave away 450,000 pounds of food. That’s a lot of pounds. We gave away food to about 3,400 people.
“Summertime is when we run short on food, because in November and December everyone donates food,” he continued. “And then we put that on our pantry shelves and we give it away. Then our next big dose is what we just got, the 35 barrels from the Postal Workers drive, and then, there’s not a really big one until the Boy Scout drive. And guess what? That’s in the autumn too.”
Properly educated, the students set to work unpacking the hygiene products. They labored together in groups. There were animated discussions as to the best way to accomplish their goal.
“We’re organizing all the hygiene products,” said Ben Cleary as he packed a gallon-sized bag with toothpaste and shampoo.
“We’re sorting them and organizing them into packs to give them to people so they can use them,” added Luke Aranda. “We try to maximize what we put in each pack, so usually they have some basic supplies that people might need at home, like deodorant, toilet tissue, shampoo and conditioner.
“Some other necessities that some homeless people might need are like a can opener,” he continued. “Which is very important when they get food, because if they don’t have a can opener they can’t eat the food.”
“The most needed product, surprising when you’re dealing with food, especially with a homeless person, is a can opener,” said Terry. “Can openers are really important, especially for a homeless person because they lose them and then can’t get into their food.
“As far as specific food items, we always need soups, breakfast cereals and oatmeal,” he continued. “We always need basic staples like oil, flour, sugar, things like that that people can turn into food, so they can make their own bread, their own tortillas. They make things out of that.”
Terry also stated that cake mixes are always welcome as well as any food staples.
Because of the influx of food resulting from Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, Terry estimates their supplies will last one or two months.
“We always welcome food donations, regardless of the time of the year,” he stated. “Fresh produce, if someone has a backyard tree (and) they want to pull their lemons down, those go really fast.”
In addition to food donations, neighbors wishing to support the safety net programs at Coastside Hope are invited to attend the annual barbecue scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 21 at Mavericks Event Center. Tickets go on sale in early June and will cost $40 to $50 at the door.
For more information, visit coastsidehope.org.