HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It may not be a sleigh, but this holiday season a U-Haul full of gifts for the Chicopee and Holyoke police departments showed up this morning. It was filled with backpacks for the departments to give to people experiencing homelessness.
“We hope and pray that this is one of the ways they can help connect with the community a little better and build some more community support,” Brian Olden, a pastor at Life Point Church in Chicopee told 22News.
Each backpack contained a hoodie, blanket, hat, gloves, first aid kit and toiletries such as tooth paste and deodorant.
“I thought it would be a great idea to just give back and help those in need and let them know someone is thinking about them and here to help them,” Life Point Church member, Abbie Dearing told 22News. She came up with the idea for the project.
“They need some comfort and to stay warm and they need to know that someone cares about them too. They need some hope,” Pastor Olden continued. Each police department received 20 bags filled with five backpack each, totaling to 100 backpacks per police department.
“We’ll get them out there and I just hope they’re used. I’ve looked through the bags and there’s a lot of items that can definitely make this colder weather a little more comfortable for the people out there,” Holyoke Police Captain, Matthew Moriarty told 22News.
The police department says they’ll be distributed by their community, mental health, and addiction officers. “We’ll probably keep a couple at the station because during the colder weather, some homeless people will come into our station to stay warm so that will give us an opportunity to hand them out as well,” Captain Moriarty told 22News.
The church raised over $412,000 to put together the backpacks.