Public invited to help provide hope for homeless youth at open house

With a passion to help homeless youth, a group of local businessmen and women, faith leaders and community members established the HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center in Anoka last spring.

Services at the HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center include providing clothing and non-perishable food items to homeless youth. Organizers invite community members to drop by and donate items to help fill those shelves during the Dec. 7-8 open house. File photo by Eric Hagen

Services at the HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center include providing clothing and non-perishable food items to homeless youth. Organizers invite community members to drop by and donate items to help fill those shelves during the Dec. 7-8 open house. File photo by Eric Hagen

The center, located on the shores of the Rum River in the Old Milk Factory (2665 Fourth Ave. N, Anoka) opened March 4.

This weekend, Dec. 7-8, HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center opens its doors to the public with an open house event, scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and 5-7:30 p.m. Sunday.

“We just want people to come by, see what we’re about and help us help these youth,” said Michelle Parks, HOPE 4 Youth volunteer.

During the current school year more than 400 youth have been identified as experiencing homelessness in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, according to Karrie Schaaf, homeless youth and families liaison for the district.

HOPE 4 Youth, while not a homeless shelter, serves youth experiencing homelessness through housing, outreach, prevention and education.

Services include hot meals and a food pantry, hygiene products and a shower, clothing, education resources, job search, computer access and survival packs.

At the open house, community members are invited to support HOPE 4 Youth services by donating food and clothing to help fill the pantry and the closets at the drop-in center.

During a Dec. 14  HOPE 4 Youth “Drive for 5” event, donations will be collected for survival packs to be given to homeless youth. Those packs include duffel bags and sleeping gear, clothing and outerwear, meals on the go and transportation assistance.

Survival pack items will be collected from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids and Champlin Park high schools.

HOPE 4 Youth is a certified 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.

To learn more about HOPE 4 Youth, visit www.hope4youthmn.org

HOPE 4 Youth needs

The following items are most urgently needed at the HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center. Community members are invited to drop off these items during this weekend’s open house: 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 7; 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 8.

• Gas-only gas cards

• Go Cards for bus and light rail transit

• Clothing (something a teenager would wear)

• Teen plus-sized clothing

• Winter clothing

• New undergarments

• New socks

• Shoes

• Boots

• Hats/gloves

Food pantry items:

• Canned dinners (such as Ravioli, Spaghettios, Chef Boyardee)

• Macaroni ‘n cheese

• Bags of side dishes (Knorr sides)

• Ramen noodles

• Individual fruit cups or pudding cups

• Snacks such as energy bars, protein bars and breakfast bars

• Canned fruit

• Bottled water

• Peanut butter

• Jelly

• Dining gift cards
Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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