This month, we launched our first Operation Handy Pack Event. Operation Handy Pack is a community effort to provide sleeping bags with food and essentials to individuals in need. Once a month our team collects over twenty of these backpacks and passes them to the homeless in the tri-state area and Skid Row.
October 27th, 2019 was a very emotional day for many of the staff in Ignite the Hearts. It was raining and very cold. The majority of us did not think that we would succeed in finding anyone through this weather condition. As we drove through Paterson, Jersey City, and Newark, we were surprised to see so many individuals in need. Many of them only had the clothes on their backs. Operation Handy Pack is not a long-term solution, but it does provide hope during moments such as this one. Our team witnessed so much pain and love on this day. I still visually remember handing a woman a handy pack under a bridge. Simultaneously, another volunteer passed one to a man nearby. When the man thanked us, he saw the young woman that I was with. This gentleman immediately grabbed his handy pack and shared his food and cleaning wipes. He did not know her, but he gave all he had to help her.
That small act of paying it forward warmed my heart. I hope one day to be able to save them. To be able to give them everything they need to get back on their feet.
Next month, we will be launching our second handy pack event. We at ignite the hearts encourage you to volunteer or to donate to this project.