FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — Shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant are a few items that a local organization, that gives back to homeless students, is seeking this holiday season.
The organization, Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick County (SHIP), is launching its annual “Homeless for the Holidays” drive.
“We are serving several hundred students at any given time, and all of those students are experiencing homelessness on some level, [whether it be] housing insecurity, housing instability,” said Melissa Muntz, the executive director of SHIP.
Bins are placed in several businesses and organizations throughout the county, including the YMCA in Downtown Frederick.
“Teenagers are a big part of our population, and we offer scholarships and programs to many of the participants. For us to be able to give back, to share, to have a drive, it’s supporting our community and it’s even supporting some of the young people in our program,” said Tom Klingman, vice president of social responsibility for the YMCA of Frederick.
According to Muntz, as of summer 2023, there were more than 1,000 students experiencing homelessness in Frederick County Public Schools alone.
If those students do not graduate from high school, they are 3.5 times more likely to experience homelessness as adults. Muntz said students that are experiencing homelessness have any and all kinds of education, whether it be in kindergarten, high school or college.
“We serve students who are connected to all different types of education here in our community,” said Muntz.
The drive ends on Dec. 31.
To find a donation drop box near you, click here.