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DeSales Community Helps the Unhoused Through MLK Day Service Project

by Paige Dormann Jan 20, 2023

This MLK Day, the DeSales Community honored Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service by making care packages for the unhoused.

“MLK has inspired me because he spoke up for others,” says Kayliyah Forbes ‘25, a nursing major. “Through service, you’re able to speak up for communities who don’t necessarily have a voice. I like being that voice so that they can get what they need.”

The care packages include gloves, scarves, hats, toiletries, and sandwiches. They will be delivered to the warming stations at Greater Valley YMCA in Allentown and Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering. The stations provide relief for the unhoused by allowing them to shower, have a meal, and get some rest overnight in a safe and supportive environment.

“Some people–just by the benefit of where they were born–have advantages,” says Kade Lippitt ’26, a biology major. “If you’re born into poverty, it’s not as easy to get out as it may seem, so it’s important to be kind and understand that sometimes people need help. It’s our responsibility if we are privileged to give that help.”

Because the unhoused spend most of their time outside, the care packages help meet some of the additional needs they may have throughout the day when the warming stations are closed.

“I hope these packages bring a smile (to the recipient) because they’ll know that people are willing to put time aside out of their day to make these things for them,” says Forbes.

Anyone interested in learning more about how they can support the warming stations should reach out to Jaime Gerhart, director of community service and advocacy at DeSales. You can also reach out to Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering and/or Greater Valley YMCA directly.