This October, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness will be holding Hugs to End Homelessness events around the state for the be homeful project. The events will encourage children and families to learn about the issue of family homelessness and get involved.
The be homeful project was started in December 2014 as a joint initiative of CCEH and Paddington Bear™. Since then, the be homeful project has raised nearly $100,000 through grants and private donations, and disbursements have been made that have kept families out of homelessness.
A Marmalade Jar fundraising drive in honor of be homeful’s official spokesbear, Paddington™ was held in conjunction with children’s library story times across the state between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and brought in $1,446 in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Those donations were accepted at People’s United Bank branches around the state. People’s United Community Foundation contributed $25,000 to the fund in the form of a grant. UIL Holdings Corp. issued a matching grant of $25,000 to the fund during that time period. 99.1 PLR and STAR 99.9 joined with People’s United to encourage donations last spring.
“Thanks to the hundreds of people and corporations who donated since we launched be homeful last December, our hardworking partners in Fairfield County were able to help more than 43 families avoid the traumatic experience of becoming homeless,” said CCEH Executive Director Lisa Tepper Bates. “Our goal is to make resources available state wide by next summer but we need donations to do so.”
Bates noted that the Marmalade Drives held across the state, and the Paddington™ library story times, were both ways for parents to teach their children about the issue of family homelessness, and for the children to become involved in the solution to the issue of homelessness.
Paddington™ and Connecticut’s libraries will continue their efforts this fall by asking kids, parents, and families across the state to donate to the be homeful project and step up as leaders for the effort. CCEH will publicize ways to become involved with a series of Paddington™ visits to libraries in recognition of World Homelessness Day on Oct. 10, and also National Bring Your Bear To Work Or School Day on Oct. 14.
“We are very excited that this October Paddington™ will be visiting libraries to help encourage kids, their moms and dads, and their families to become leaders in the be homeful project by helping a family facing homelessness. We hope that kids, parents, and families will visit our website to learn what they can do to help,” said be homeful Director Madeline Ravich.
Schools across Connecticut can hold Bring Your Bear fundraisers, where students can bring their favorite bears to school with a donation. Classrooms can also compete to see which one has the highest number of participants. The schools with the highest participation rate and highest amount raised for the fund will receive a visit from Paddington™ himself next spring. CCEH will also be looking for people to hold drives this fall to sponsor families in their communities facing homelessness. More information on be homeful for the holidays to follow.
This October, Paddington™ himself will be coming to some towns for Hugs to End Homelessness events in libraries across the state. During these events, families can learn how Paddington’s story is helping to end homelessness. Kids can have their photos taken with Paddington, and their favorite personal bear.
The Hugs to End Homelessness schedule is:
- Wednesday, Oct. 14: 11-12 p.m., New Haven Free Public Library main branch
- Wednesday, Oct. 14: 6-7 p.m., Stonington Free Library
- Thursday, Oct. 15: 10:30-11:30 a.m., Fairfield Public Library;
- Thursday, Oct. 15: 4-5 p.m., New Haven Free Public Library Courtland Wilson branch
- Friday, Oct. 16: 11-12 p.m., Hartford Public Library main branch.
For information on how to donate to the be homeful fund or become involved with the be homeful project, contact Katie Kenney, 860 721 7876 x101 or email Madeline Ravich at firstname.lastname@example.org.