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All right, so summer is half way over and you might be looking for some worthwhile activities to do with your children, or just yourself. This is a short, yet mighty list of EASY ways you can help many in the Wichita community.

1. You know those cell phones you have sitting on a shelf that you aren’t sure what to do with? Well, Harbor House can use them! It doesn’t matter how old they are or what they look like. (When your life is in danger, a flip phone becomes your best friend.) They will wipe the memory clean and give them free of charge to women who need a way to call 911 in crisis. We do need the chargers though. Since Harbor House is a safe house, the address is not publicly available. We ask that you drop off old phones and chargers in the box located in the Blessed Sacrament parish office.

2. Still going on vacation? Staying in a hotel or motel? Travel for work? This has got to be the easiest way to help combat human trafficking. You need an IPhone or android for the app, but it is easy to download and you can use it for years to come. It is called TraffickCam and is a free mobile app developed in St. Louis and helps police identify specific hotels where minors are being sex trafficked. Travelers check into a hotel, snap up to 4 photos and download them on the app. Law enforcement officers feed the same database photos from escort ads showing minors in hotel rooms. Then, computer search functions analyze rug patterns, drapery designs and other features to match the ads to photos from specific hotels and chains. www.traffickCam.com

3. Have a surplus of veggies or fruits you have grown? Fresh produce is expensive and those on limited income have a hard time purchasing them. Drop off your surplus at:

  • Our Daily Bread located at 2825 S. Hillside, open Tu-Thur. from 8:30 till Noon and on the 2 nd and 4 th Saturday’s of the month from 9:00 a.m – Noon. 264-8344 x1504
  • Positive Directions – (help provide services to people living with HIV and their families) located at 415 S. Commerce between the hours of 9-5, M-F. 263-2214

4. Sometimes you purchase pillowcases, bedspreads, kitchen gadgets, etc…only to find out it isn’t what you needed or wanted, and time goes by and you forget to return it, lose the receipt or flat out forget it’s on that shelf in the closet. Well, St. Anthony’s Family Shelter has a little “store” that residents go shopping in once they earn enough points from completing tasks, duties and programs. They then redeem these points for items to be used in their new home once they leave. Feel free to take your new items directly to the shelter located at 256 N. Ohio, at 2nd and Ohio. Their phone number is 264-7233 if you have any questions.

5. It doesn’t get any better than Meals on Wheels when it comes to helping people and letting children see the fruits of their labor. It is a rare day when they actually have enough volunteers to deliver all the meals. They are located at 200 S. Walnut and the phone number is 267-0122. Typically, you can just show up and they will have a route available Monday through Friday, but feel free to call ahead to make sure. You don’t have to become a regular volunteer to participate, you can deliver as little or as much as you like. You can pick up a route between 9:45 and 10:30 am and are typically finished by noon. (Meals on weekends are delivered by church groups, help is needed M-F)

6. Did you have a party and have a lot of leftovers? These are some places that are more than happy accept open food items. Our Alter Society is very good about contacting a member of SVdP and we take the food leftover from their meetings to St. Anthony’s Shelter or the places listed below. They will gladly take your food too!

7. At the store and see a good deal? Please grab some snack items for our weekend backpack program at Blessed Sacrament and place the items in the SVdP drop box in the parish office. This food will go to students who might otherwise go hungry over the weekend. Another option is purchase some canned goods or cereal items and leave them in the food boxes located in all entrances of the church. These items go to a local food pantry to help households in need.

8. Many are at a loss as to how to help people we see holding signs asking for help at intersections. We advise putting together a little bag containing items like bottled water, Band-Aids, travel sized toiletries and a few snack items to give to the person and keep it in your car. This is a good way to help without feeling like you could be enabling.

As always, there are many ways to help our fellow brothers and sisters; these are just a few ways. We hope you find it helpful. Thank you for supporting Society of St. Vincent de Paul and our works.

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