In 2006, the faithful of St. Paul Parish in Belleview, Florida began collecting soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, beginning a Backpack Program at the front door of their church. Items were delivered to a local school for their homeless students and the process continued this way for a couple of years. In 2008, we began to look more closely into the homeless crisis in Florida and were shocked to see the magnitude of silent desperation in our back yard. There was an unanswered call for hygiene products throughout the state and we made a determination to formulate and operate the Clean Kids Backpack Program. We are a network of folks dedicated to increasing access to personal care items for homeless students and their families. We are reaching out to you for a small measure of help.
Typically, personal hygiene items are delivered to Homeless Liaison / Coordinators in their respective school districts. From there, the items are designated to pick up areas that include locker programs and utilization of Guidance Departments. Most often, homeless students pick up their designated and filled backpacks on Fridays and bring them back on Mondays. Central Florida served as Beta-Site, placing over 400,000 products into the backpacks of over 14,000 students spanning four counties (Marion, Lake, Sumter, Orange). The Clean Kids Backpack Program is expanding throughout the state of Florida and into the Southeast region of the United States and is proud to announce Lowndes County, GA as our first public school district across state lines! The Clean Kids Backpack Program is projecting a national emergence in the near future.
Our current Clean Kids Backpack Program charters are active, but the need for more charters throughout the nation exisits. We are looking to help other like-minded groups and organizations establish Clean Kids Backpack Programs in their communities to address the local need for personal care and hygiene products among homeless students. Organizing a Clean Kids Backpack Program is surprisingly simple and completely cost-free. The National Office in Central Florida will provide all necessary support and guidance to potential charter members to ensure a thorough understanding of goals and processes. Just a small effort makes a big difference in the life of a homeless child. There are no quotas or pressure - just a lot of love and support to those that contact us.