Ark Project STOCK

The ARK Project has resources available to homeless teens to help them stay and finish school and meet other needs they may have.

COOS BAY – Students are out for winter break, the longest time-off of the year.

To help families during the two and a half week school vacation, the At Risk Kids program handed out 120 hygiene bags on Wednesday. The ARK received a $5,000 grant from the Cal Creek Foundation for the event.

“This is the first time we’ve done this,” said ARK program manager and Coos Bay School District Homeless liaison, Melinda Torres. “Without Cal Creek’s support, we couldn’t have done this. Eventually I want to go to local businesses and dentist offices to get them to contribute when we do this again in the spring because this is helping transient and homeless kids. It’s for a good cause.”

The bags contain six toothbrushes, three deodorants, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, Band-Aids, body wash, toilet paper, and shampoo and conditioner.

Torres reached out to other school district homeless liaisons to let them know about the event and make sure families from across Coos County could attend. If families from places like North Bend, Bandon and Coquille couldn’t make it on Wednesday, Torres had bags set aside to give to them later.

“We will equally distribute whatever is left from the event through other districts,” Torres said. “If districts can’t get the bags to families before break, they have it when they get back at least.”

Though there were 120 of the hygiene bags, Torres feared it wouldn’t be enough.

“If that’s the case, the ARK will raise more money for the even in the spring,” she said. “Families who need this help were excited to hear we were planning to put this on because over the holidays sometimes this stuff goes unnoticed or it adds up and they can’t afford it. This is a relief for them, something they don’t have to think about.” 

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.