A collection bin for supplies of importance to children in a Casa Hogar orphanage in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico has been established at BGC Cochrane and Area.
The drive is being spearheaded by local resident Brandon Cruze and his family, who will be delivering the items to the orphanage in March.
"We're looking for toothbrushes, toothpaste, everything from boys' socks, girls' socks, hair ties, headbands, and basically anything any kid can use," says Cruze. "Clothing items, shirts, shorts, anything like that."
The collection was just announced, and Cruze says they've already received a wealth of items. But more are welcomed, and needed, and can be dropped off until Feb. 20.
A full list of ideal items is listed at the end of this article.
Cruze and his family visited the orphanage and donated some supplies while vacationing in Mexico in the fall.
"We're going back in March so we thought, why not bring in more supplies, visit the kids, and help that facility out as much as we can?"
"These kids have gone through everything. All different forms of abuse, family abandonment, and some of them are literally there from the age of 2 until they age out at 18."
He says Casa Hogar is not government funding and relies solely upon public donations.
"For me, it was one of those heartfelt great initiatives and I thought this is something I'm going to do with the kids."
While not exactly mirroring a trip Cruze made as a youth growing up in Cochrane, it did help inspire the drive. Cruze was among several Cochrane area youth who went to Tijuana, Mexico to build affordable housing through the local Boys and Girls Club.
"I took the inspiration from that initial trip down there from when I was 13 years old, and that's kind of what reignited it. We had to drive through some impoverished parts, and I wanted the kids to get a grasp of how fortunate we are in our North American society; this is what's happening in a Third World country."
He says the kids were inspired and on board to help in whatever way possible and to visit repeatedly.
They are arranging for free shipment via WestJet and will take as much as possible. Any excess will be donated to Big Hill Haven. Cruze says these same items would be of value for use in family emergency shelters.
Items welcomed are: hair brushes, hair ties, clips and bands, nail polish, nail clippers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, crayons, colouring books, markers, chalk, and other craft supplies, boys and girls socks, underwear, shorts, shirts, pants, shoes and hats, soap, hygiene products, hair gel, sunscreen, birthday supplies, English learning flashcards, sunglasses, toys (nonviolent), soccer balls, basketball, white paper, books, laundry detergent pods, and bedding for single beds.