Parents, children use hundreds of homeless care packages to pay it forward

Parents, children use hundreds of homeless care packages to pay it forward

Dozen of parents and their children hope the hundreds of care packages they assembled Sunday inside a Waunakee church will provide a Thanksgiving blessing that will keep paying it forward for much of the winter season.

“I think it’s so important we show our children how to be involved in the community, be thankful for the things they have and really pay it forward anytime they have to do so,” organizer Lisa Whiting said.

A few years ago Whiting’s daughter caught her throwing away travel shampoo, and came up with the idea of saving them and giving toiletries, food and warm clothing items to area homeless.

What started as a small, family pay-it-forward project for the last couple of years, grew into a large community affair this year. Whiting credits a simple Facebook post for the more than 230 care packages collected.

“It’s a great feeling there are so many people in the community who want to help,” said volunteer Shana Dunn, who used the Sunday event to teach her five- and seven-year-old sons Henry and Lewis a lesson.

“Not everyone in the world has the things they have. Not everyone can just go to the pantry and grab food. Not everyone has a roof over their heads even,” Dunn said. “I think parenting is hard enough when you do have these things. But having to struggle for basic necessities, along with having to raise good kids must be incredibly difficult.”

Many who put care packages together Sunday have also signed up to serve meals to the homeless the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That is also the day when they will give out the care packages.

While 230 packages were collected Sunday, the volunteers would still like to have 300, and are still accepting donations on their Facebook page.

Next year the People Paying it Forward hope to hand out 1,000 homeless care packages.