Bookbag give-away benefits youth

Children facing homelessness When children go back to school each year, some families have to make a choice between buying food for their homes or backpacks and school supplies for their receive gifts

Malika A. Wright | 8/7/2013, 12:10 p.m.
Residents of Dr. Barbara Carey Shuler Manor Apartments and children who will benefit from the giveaway are photographed at the complex. Eddie Miller [back center] organized the event and James Petrone [back right] is the manager of the property. —Carrfour Supportive Hosung

When children go back to school each year, some families have to make a choice between buying food for their homes or backpacks and school supplies for their children. The backpack giveaway at Dr. Barbara Carey Shuler Manor Apartments — a Carrfour Supportive

Housing development that provides affordable housing for residents who were formerly homeless or facing homelessness — will assist some families who are in need on August 10 at 9a.m.-1 p.m. At the event, 40-50 bookbags will be given to the complex’s residents. “When we have donors willing to donate backpacks to help alleviate some of those financial burdens of a family, it’s an extraordinary gift that keeps on giving,” Anthea Tennant, director of fund development and external affairs of Carrfour Supportive Housing, said.

Tennant encourages the community to donate to Carrfour, saying that for every dollar that’s donated they're able to leverage five dollars in government funding.

At the event, attendees will also be able to receive free haircuts.Eddie Miller, a Vietnam veteran and the event’s organizer, moved into the housing complex about two years ago, after being displaced from his former home and sleeping on Miami’s streets for a month.

Miller, who is described as a person who is always willing to go the extra mile for others, said he remembers growing up with friends who didn’t have school supplies. He said he wanted to prevent the youth at the complex from having to go through that and to also help them have a good start this school year. Mavis Jackson, a resident who lives with her husband and son, said the free backpack will be beneficial to her son. As a substitute teacher, she has been without income during the summer.

Therefore, her family has had to maintain their household with limited funds. Jackson said the backpack will be one less major expense for her family, who live in a homeless unit of the apartment complex. Her and her family were happy to move into the unit, a year ago, after having to share a home with extended family members.

According to Jackson, Carrfour has helped her and other residents with many things. The organization has held workshops to educate its residents on different things, such as managing finances and home-buying. After care services for children of residents, providing financial consultations, and helping residents register for medicare, social security and other resources.

She said the fact that someone's giving the youth something that they are not asking for will show them that someone cares for them. “Sometimes it’s the extra little, small things that we do that helps,” she said.