Clark Daisy Troop partners with Jersey Cares to help homeless

CLARK, NJ — Clark Daisy Troop 40710 earned its Rosie Petal by partnering with Jersey Cares to help the homeless. They collected travel-sized items from friends, family and other students to donate. Together, they were able to deliver more than 40 bags of items to be given to the homeless at their first night in a shelter. The Rosie Petal is about making the world a better place.

“The girls collected items from family and friends,” troop leader Genevieve Cece of Clark told LocalSource in an interview on March 22, “They were the ‘free’ hotel items usually collected when on a vacation. They used large ziplock bags and filled them each with a comb, tissues, toothbrush, shampoo, bar of soap and more for their first night at the homeless shelter. We collected so much stuff that we ended up having a lot of extra soap and shampoo which they said they could always use.”

According to a 2016 NJ Counts survey conducted by Monarch Housing, the total number of homeless persons staying in shelters in Union County was higher than in 2015 by almost 13 percent on the night of the survey.

The top three causes of homelessness in Union County are being asked to leave a shared residence; eviction risk or eviction; and loss or reduction of job income. The top three causes for chronic homelessness in Union County are being asked to leave a shared residence; foreclosure or rented or owned property loss; and loss or reduction of job income. An overwhelming majority of chronically homeless people in reported being homeless for more than a year.

The county with the most homeless persons in the state was Essex, according to the NJ Counts 2016 Survey. Union County was the fifth highest in the state. The most common disabilities disabilities in the homeless population were mental illness and substance abuse, according to the survey.

Jersey Cares is an organization that identifies needs and opportunities for volunteers. They recruit volunteers to efforts that address the needs of the community. They envision a world where everyone is motivated to make a positive change.

Many of the people surveyed received no income at all, however the majority of homeless persons received Social Security income or general assistance.

“Seeing people who are poor makes me feel said,” Sophia Cece of Clark Daisy Troop 40710 said in an interview on March 31. “When we filled the bags I knew I helped them which made me happy! I love being a Girl Scout because I love to help people.”