By Maddy Vitale
Holidays are a time for family gatherings, shopping for that perfect gift and parties.
But for the homeless, things others take for granted, such as socks, and warm coats, could literally mean the difference between freezing, or getting through another night.
That is why Brittany Battle, 30, of Ocean City, a member of Ocean City’s Juneteenth Organization, established a Holiday Drive and Day of Service from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. this Saturday at the 7th Street Recreation Center.
“In the winter, it is necessary to give to people in need, and help them keep warm. People are facing very cold and windy temperatures,” Battle said, as temperatures dipped into the 20s and teens overnight this week, and a Code Blue was issued for the region.
Battle, along with her sister Coryn Graves, of Pleasantville, and friends Takiya Wilson, of Egg Harbor Township, and Joshua Baker, of North Jersey, spent months organizing the event.
“We are all busy, so we did most of our organizing with conference calls,” Battle said. “All three of us are really just committed to the community and social injustices.”
Donations accepted at the holiday drive include, toiletries, socks, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, cleaning supplies, canned goods, diapers, paper products and travel size soaps, toothpastes and other necessities.
After the drive, Battle and the other volunteers, will separate the items and take them to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and Turning Point Day Center, also in Atlantic City.
“Most people typically want to give and have generous spirits, but often they are just looking for programs or drives that are organized, to streamline the process,” Battle, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, said. “People really do want to give.”
Battle, who travels a lot for conferences, has amassed hundreds of complimentary hotel shampoos, conditioners, body wash and soaps and she is putting them to good use.
“We are making up care bags out of all of the travel size toiletries,” Battle said. “When people are homeless, going to different shelters, they need to be able to carry small bags. That is why these care bags are so important.”
She urged anyone who has mini-shampoos and soaps, to drop them off at the recreation center Saturday.
Battle isn’t the only one who prepared donations for the homeless. Her sister, Graves, an extreme-couponer, donated some of her stockpile of necessities. Wilson has been collecting donations from her colleagues at the Atlantic City Board of Education, and Baker has provided financial support to the cause, as well as donated some clothes.
“This is just a great way to be able to provide our resources to help the homeless,” Battle said.
For more information or to make arrangements to drop off donations, call Takiya Wilson at 609-992-1909 or Brittany Battle at 609-464-1747.