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WJ Christian students help homeless with toiletry drive

WJ Christian students help homeless with toiletry drive

Many of us take for granted that we have a toothbrush and plenty of soap to make us feel fresh and clean each day.

Not the students at William James Christian Academy.

When they learned that people at their school have experienced homelessness, they decided they wanted to help by making a donation to Pathways. At first, they wanted to conduct a canned food drive, but opted instead to collect toiletry items when they heard there was a greater need for those items.

The fruits of their efforts - over 3,000 items ranging from toilet paper to high-end lotion - was featured on Fox6 WBRC.

The initiative was headed up by the WJ Christian Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society.

Students were excited to receive a visit last week from Fox6 news reporter Sarah Verser, who interviewed several of the honor students about the toiletry drive. They told her how they now have a greater appreciation for things like toothbrushes and soap and how they understand that others are less fortunate.

"There's actually a person who works at this school who had to live at Pathways once," said Sandra Pickens, a teacher at WJ Christian Academy who helped the students with the drive, told Fox6. "This person told me about the face of homelessness; she said there were students from this school who actually had to receive services from Pathways."

Using the Alabama-Auburn rivalry, the honor students motivated the entire school to get involved with the drive. Each student's team of choice would receive one point for every item donated. Whichever team got the most points earned a day of wearing team paraphernalia.

Alabama won.

"A homeless person is not necessarily someone you see on the sidewalk or sleeping on the street," Maria Dickens, Pathways' Executive Director told Fox6. "It's someone who gets up every day and goes to their job."

The items collected by WJ Christian Academy students - which filled the large Pathways van to full capacity - will make a tremendous difference to the women and children who live at Pathways' shelter and who come to the Day Center each day.

"(The donated toiletry items) make the difference between going a day without a shower, without brushing your teeth and having a day where you're clean," Dickens told Fox6.

Karen Griner is the Development Director at Pathways.