By Samita Dutta
With Fourth of July just around the corner, people might feel more patriotic and thoughtful in regards to our men and women overseas.
Independence Day evokes pride in many people, and especially in local non-profit youth outreach organization Hands4Hope – Youth Making a Difference. With the soldiers who serve us every day in mind, the youth outreach program has launched a soldier care package drive in order to provide soldiers with items they need.
Through July 6 Hands4Hope, partnering with El Dorado Hills Town Center, will hold its annual Soldier Care Package Drive. Requested donations include black socks, beef jerky, dental floss, golf balls, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, sunscreen, lip balm, books and non-perishable food items.
People can drop off donations in designated boxes located in stores around Town Center, including Face in a Book, Ruffhaus Hotdog Company, Juice it Up, It’s Kids Time, Wells Fargo and The Hub.
On July 3, during Town Center’s Fireworks Jubilee, Hands4Hope will have a booth set up where people can write letters or color pictures to send to our troops.
“I love this drive because it gives the youth a chance to reach out to our community, and it brings both adults and kids together for a fantastic cause,” said Amelia Crye, an Oak Ridge High School student who helps run the drive. “As a part of Hands4Hope I have been able to do something that many people do not get to do: reach out and help people outside El Dorado Hills. I have volunteered at many places in the past, but uniquely with Hands4Hope I can make an impact that extends beyond my own community.”
Hands4Hope was founded in February 2008 when Jennifer Bassett, the founder and director of the organization, wanted to inspire her two sons to “be appreciative of what they have, show compassion for others, and know the wonderful feeling of doing something that makes a positive difference in somebody else’s life.”
Since 2008 Hands4Hope has expanded to more than 600 youth volunteers, and has partnerships with various public schools within the area, such as the Oak Meadow, Silva Valley and William Brooks elementary schools, as well as Rolling Hills and Marina middle schools, and Oak Ridge, Ponderosa, St. Francis, Jesuit and Union Mine high schools.
More information about Hands4Hope is available on the website at hands4hopeyouth.org.