Little Johnny* got called into the principal’s office one day for having odor issues. When the principal asked him why he was stinking up the classroom, Johnny replied that he got shampoo and body wash from his mother for Christmas and wanted to make them last as long as he could. During this conversation, Johnny shared that he and his mother live in a motel room nearby and they struggle to make ends meet. Each week, much of the money from his mother’s paycheck covers the cost of the motel room and they have hardly any money left to buy food, much less shampoo and body wash. With compassion for Johnny’s circumstance, the principal made provisions for Johnny to shower at the school so he can always stay fresh and ready to learn.

Though the name “Johnny” is fictitious, many students in our community share in the experience of poverty and homelessness. Each year, our school district identifies several hundred students as homeless. These students may be living in their vehicles, or “couch surfing,” or sharing a motel room with a parent and multiple siblings, or living out on the streets. Inevitably, maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness can be a challenge for these students. That is why a Graduation Coach contacted the CEC to see if we can provide hygiene kits for some of these students. Without hesitation, we requested donations of hygiene items from our generous partners and donors. Soon, bottles of shampoos and body wash, bars of soap, and various hygiene items began flooding into our warehouse. With the help of a volunteer groups, we assembled many hygiene kits together and delivered them to the Graduation Coach.

Changing lives by restoring hope and sharing God’s love is the mission of the CEC. Sometimes, restoring hope means donating a bar of soap and a bottle of shampoo. Sometimes, restoring hope means donating time to put hygiene kits together for a homeless student to shower and be fresh and ready to learn. If restoring hope means removing the body odor and restoring a student’s dignity so he/she can feel comfortable in a learning environment, the CEC is all over it. There is a fragrance of hope in every bar of soap when we understand that the dignity of a homeless student may be tied to it.

To learn more about how you can get involved with the CEC, please click on the Donate and/or Volunteer tab at the top!