JANESVILLE -Project 16:49, in partnership with area businesses, is conducting a back-to-school collection drive to benefit unaccompanied homeless youth in the county.
The organization's wish list includes school supplies, as well as, personal hygiene items, on-the-go food, prepaid phones, and gift cards. Financial gifts also are appreciated.
Project 16:49 Executive Director Tammy DeGarmo notes the most needed items are gift cards, TracFones and backpacks.
"We distribute or use a lot of gift cards throughout the year," she said. "Those that are especially helpful are $5 fast food cards, $15-$20 grocery store cards, and Walmart, Shopko or other retail cards, which we use to purchase undergarments, medications, and other basic items, as needed."
"TracFones and minute cards are important for our youth's safety as well as allowing our program and school staff to stay in touch with our most at-risk students," she added.
According to DeGarmo, more than 300 Rock County students are identified as unaccompanied and homeless each year.
"Our mission is to empower these youth to take action to achieve their goals," DeGarmo says. "Their education is a priority. To that end, we work with the school districts, partner agencies and the community to ensure our students' basic needs are met, and that they have access to the services and support they need to complete their high school education and increase their self-sufficiency as they transition into adulthood."
Financial donations and gift cards should be sent to: Project 16:49, 740 N Randall, Janesville, WI 53545.
Collection bins are available for all other items at the following locations through Sept. 10:
JANESVILLE - Associated Bank (2720 N Lexington Drive); Basics (1711 Lodge Drive); Wiggy's Saloon (9 N. Parker Drive); Kealy's Kafe (1010 N Washington St.); Anytime Fitness (2315 W Court St, 3023 Milton Ave.); Choice Cleaners (610 E Memorial Drive, 1926 E Milwaukee St., and 2919 N Lexington Drive); Mercy North (3400 Deerfield Drive); Hedberg Public Library (316 S Main St.)
BELOIT - Family Video (Both locations); Visit Beloit (500 Public Ave.); Beloit Public Library (605 Eclipse Blvd.); Stateline YMCA (1865 Riverside Drive); Upperclass Awards (408 E Grand Ave.); Anytime Fitness (2240 Prairie Ave.)
MILTON - Anytime Fitness (679 S Janesville St.)
EDGERTON - Edgerton Pharmacy (711 N Main St.);
For additional information, to host a collection drive, or to arrange to drop off large donations, please contact Project 16:49 at 608-314-5501.