“This is a REALLY epic thing you are doing and I hope you can keep it up!” wrote the young recipient of a backpack filled by the Unitarian Universalists of Grants Pass, Oregon. A $2600 grant received from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation will allow the UUGP Homeless Teen Project to fill 48 backpacks this year. In 2011 the group gave out packs to 36 young people, a small portion of the 280 students in the Three Rivers School district identified as homeless last spring. (See related story, May 2011.) The sturdy new backpacks are filled with a blanket, socks, personal hygiene products, basic school supplies, first aid kit, and a few items just for fun, such as a Frisbee and a harmonica. Twelve packs are delivered to local high schools every three months. Although the Unitarian Universalist group recognizes that backpacks are not a solution to homelessness, they can provide short-term care and comfort, a sense of dignity, and help a teen to continue with school or work. For more information about the project contact Barbara Allen, 541-474-3764. The grant funds are profits from the Seven Feathers Resort & Casino the Cow Creek tribe owns and operates in Canyonville, south of Roseburg on Interstate 5.

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