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Donated backpacks, duffel bags needed at Charlottetown's Community Outreach Centre

Oct 11, 2023Oct 11, 2023

The Community Outreach Centre in Charlottetown launched a new program this week to bring in donated bags for people experiencing homelessness.

Any and all types of backpacks are one of the most needed items at the centre.

"We get asked all the time from clients if we have a bag for them to put stuff in," said Bethany Keoughan, program co-ordinator at the Outreach Centre.

"It's important for them to have a place to store their belongings and keep things safe, and a lot of times everything that they own is in their bag. What they carry around with them."

Keoughan said many people experiencing homelessness don't have a duffel bag, reuseable bag or backpack, and that means their belongings can get ruined or damaged because of the weather.

The Community Outreach Centre operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Euston Street in Charlottetown. The Park Street Emergency Shelter, Bedford MacDonald House and Blooming House Women's Shelter all operate overnight.

For clients, that means a lot of walking between one place or another, and lining up to access shelters or food services downtown — often times without something to carry their belongings.

"There's not a lot of autonomy there. Their lives are kind of set to a certain schedule and it's really unfortunate because everybody wants to be able to make their own choices and schedules," Keoughan said.

The call goes beyond backpacks, too.

"Basic necessities like toiletries, deodorants, toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks and underwear are always a huge ask at the centre. If you have shoes to donate," she said. "Those sorts of things."

Keoughan said the Community Outreach Centre is taking donations directly at their location.

"We will accept whatever we can get because it's an ongoing thing. Sometimes people's things are lost, or stolen or damaged so it's nice to have extra."

With files from Island Morning