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Cedar Rapids homeless shelter ‘Operation Christmas Backpack’ to provide a useful gift to those in need

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Willis Dady Homeless Services is seeking donations of backpacks filled with useful items for their clients.

The Overflow Shelter is hoping to gift these donations to men and women experiencing homelessness for the holidays this year. This is the first year the shelter is holding this program.

“We’re still in need of quite a few backpacks… so far we’ve only gotten a handful,” Shelter Services Director Denine Rushing said.

The non-profit’s goal is to collect 100 backpacks. Donations should include a backpack filled with these items:

  • Rain poncho
  • Socks
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Fleece blanket
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Water bottle
  • Portfolio for important papers
  • Travel-sized toiletries
  • Note of encouragement

"They can keep all those things inside that backpack that's nice and secure 'cause currently a lot of our clients are, kind of carrying things around in bags that aren't very secure, that don't zip up, that don't close,” Rushing said.

The donated gifts will be given out during the Christmas Dinner event the shelter is hosting. Rushing says this will have a positive impact on their clients and the reaction will be amazing.

People who want to donate can fill a new or gently used backpack with useful items, wrap it in holiday paper and deliver to the Overflow Shelter at the Fillmore Center, 520 11th St. NW. They are asking for donations to be delivered no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

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