The blanket, pillow and sleeping bag drive for children by the Kent Police Department turned out to be quite successful.
People donated 298 blankets, 189 pillows, 135 sleeping bags, 38 packs of pillow cases (2 to 24 each), 30 prepacked backpacks, 12 sleeping mats, two child tents and 15 prepacked small art kits.
Police held the drive for three hours on the morning of Feb. 24 under the breezeway between City Hall and the Police Department. Children in crisis sometimes end up sleeping at police headquarters, often in the lunchroom.
“In the early hours of the morning, our lunchroom is unfortunately sometimes a place for children in crisis to rest,” according to police. “We give them a snack, a place to be safe, and take care of them as long as it takes until their caseworker arrives. We are privileged to take care of our most vulnerable, while wishing it wasn’t necessary.”
When residents heard about the children, they asked police how they could help out with many comfort items, so police staff organized the drive.
People dropped off so many items that the Council Chambers had to be used for storage. The numerous items also meant residents helped out a local nonprofit.
“You gave so much, we wanted to share the wealth with KentHOPE,” according to police. “They serve the youth in our community and are always in need of items for kids. “We loaded up two large boxes (for KentHOPE), which only represented one-third of what you donated.”
KentHOPE is an emergency shelter for women and children that hosts up to 48 women and their children each day and night and meets their immediate needs.