PARKLAND, FL- Valentine's Day is typically a day to express love and appreciation for those close to us. For veterans and families that are experiencing homelessness, it can also be a reminder of their current situation. For the Parkland community, February 14 is a painful reminder of the lives tragically lost two years ago. This Valentine's Day, the Kids Club is offering a way to serve and bless those experiencing homelessness and honor the 17 that were lost in 2018.
The Kids Care Club is a local program run by high school seniors and Parkland residents Charlie Khalil and Alexa Teo. "We believe in giving back and being kind to others- help where you can," says Charlie. Every month, Charlie and Alexa identify a community project or two that gives back to the Broward community. This month's project is "Boxes of Love". Shoe boxes will be wrapped like a Valentine's Day box and filled with both practical and fun items. The boxes will be given to homeless vets and homeless families with children. The boxes will be distributed by Hope South Florida on Valentine’s Day. There will be a meal service for the homeless as well. The project is in honor of the 17 who lost their lives in the Parkland School shooting.
Last year close to 500 Boxes of Love were made and distributed to homeless veterans and families. Charlie and Alexa personally made 158 Boxes of Love and the rest were put together by the community.
Kids Care Club is seeking the community's help filling the Boxes of Love. "Homeless people often feel isolated and invisible. You can show them that they are not forgotten and loved," added parent organizer Heather Khalil. Each box typically costs $20 to fill. Hope South Florida has approved 2 service hours per box if service hours are needed. Boxes are due by January 31, 2020. In addition to Love Boxes, the project is seeking food donations for the meal and has opportunities to serve at the event on February 14, 2020.
Boxes of Love donations needed:
- Homeless veterans: pack of socks, band aids, full size toiletries, shoe laces, gum, tissue packs, bag of beef jerky, granola bars and a note of encouragement. Place an index card on top of your wrapped box with gender and age or size and tape it on the lid.
- Homeless teen or single mom: toiletries, nail polish, a book, snack, something that would appeal to a teen that is gender appropriate, fun socks, foot cream. Place an index card on top of your wrapped box with gender and age or size and tape it on the lid.
- Young child: basic toiletries, pair of pajamas, clothing, coloring book and crayons, a book or stuffed animal, cars, snack, game, play dough. Place an index card on top of your wrapped box with gender and age or size and tape it on the lid.
"Helping out with these projects has made me appreciate that I have the ability to spread kindness and support others in need. I hope that our club gives everyone the chance to experience how incredible it feels to give back to their community," Alexa shared.
For more information on the Boxes of Love project, to donate or to serve, please contact Heather Khalil at HeatherKhalil@gmail.com