Helping the Homeless


Clarion photo Provided by Stephanie Singh

Club founder Stephanie Singh, on far right, alongside friends Sofia Higgins and Vivi Hurley ready to pass out care packages.

By Jennifer Singh, Reporter

Sophomore Stephanie Singh’s club, Helping the Homeless, lived up to its name, as she and several club members handed out care packages to the homeless on Saturday, March 17.

Helping the Homeless is a club aiming to raise awareness around the increased homelessness throughout Portland and focuses on projects that directly give back to the local community. The club has been working recently to raise money and purchase products to hand out to those in need throughout the community. This first project of the year for the club created 32 packages containing snacks, socks, hygiene products, and heartwarming notes. Students involved in the club then passed out the packages near City Team Ministries, a homeless shelter in Southeast Portland.

Singh’s club is a new addition to Cleveland this year. “I noticed that a big issue within our community is the large population of the homeless in our community,” Singh explained. She believes that awareness is dire, as so many people in the Portland community are facing homelessness in the present day.

Between 2015 and 2017 the Multnomah County homeless population rose 10 percent, and the final 2017 point-in-time court report found 4,177 homeless people in the county. It was also found that 15 percent of homeless people are families with children.

“I feel like people often stereotype people who are homeless as people who made that happen, they had that choice,” Singh explained. “Often times it could happen to anybody and it’s just people who need help and they didn’t have the same opportunities as we often do.”

That is exactly why creating the care packages has been a big focus for her and has been the goal for her club for the past couple of months.

Singh’s club was able to gain money for the care package project through the CHS Gives Back campaign earlier this school year, which aided the Cleveland families who needed extra support during the holiday season. With the leftover money from the Cleveland fundraiser, Helping the Homeless was able to purchase items for the care packages that the homeless do not always have the opportunity to acquire, such as feminine hygiene products and warm socks.

“We were able to see firsthand how different their lives are and how hard it can be,” Singh explained. “[seeing] how happy they were to have the care packages was really impactful, because they were filled with daily items that we often take for granted and that we have so much access to and don’t realize that to somebody else, that can make their entire world … You could see how much it meant to show that we cared.”

The human to human interaction of handing the packages out individually also made the experience more personal.

“When we’re handing out the gift baskets, they know who it’s coming from and you kind of get to know the person better,” sophomore and club member Quinn DeLany said. “I thought it was a really important thing to do because we do have a big homeless population in Portland and at Cleveland too, so I think it’s just important to help people in our community and give back to it.”

As this was the first major project of the club, Singh is hoping to create more opportunities for herself and those in her club to give back to those who need it in her community. “My hope for the club moving forward into the rest of this year and next year is being able to put on more events like this and do more activities like this, so that more people can understand how big of an issue this is in our community,” she said. Her main goal for Helping the Homeless is to “make a difference in any way we can.”