BEND, Ore. -

Soap. toothpaste, laundry detergent and shampoo are basic essentials to most of us, but for children that are homeless they are unattainable luxuries.
 
Nearly 1,000 children are homeless in Deschutes County.  They sleep in cars, motels or on a friend's couch.  For these kids, a cloth bag filled with the essentials for cleanliness are a way to dignity and normalcy.  You can help by working with the Kits for Kids program.
 
Volunteers are sewing cloth bags the size of pillowcases and filling them with hygiene items that are not available with food stamps.  The donated contents are: laundry soap, dish soap, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, paper towels and toilet paper.
 
Family Access Network advocates and school district homeless liaisons distribute the bags throughout the school year to Deschutes County children in need.  Over 5,700 bags have been donated since 2008.
 
Kits for Kids program originated with and is coordinated by the Presbyterian Women's Group of First Presbyterian Church with the strong support of the First Methodist Church, Community of Christ Church, New Hope Church and many other generous groups and individuals.  Since its inception, nearly 5,700 children have received a Kit through the program.
 
Many hours are volunteered and supplies and cash are donated before the Kits are collected in late August by Family Access Network and school district volunteers.
 
To find out more about this project that makes such a difference in the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of our community's children, you may contact Sandra Croney at arktos@bendbroadband.com or Marilyn Feis at mfeis@bendbroadband.com