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Westmont Teen's Senior Project Helps the Homeless

Nicole Stedman is collecting essential items to donate to the homeless.

Winter break is a time for local students to relax, enjoy their time with their families and friends.

For one teen, winter break will be spent helping others out.

Nicole Stedman is working on her senior project. According to the teen, the school's senior project program requires the student to address a need in the community.

Nicole is collecting donations for the homeless.

"I’m making donation boxes, between 30 and 40 of them filled with socks, boxers, $1 reading glasses, etc.," she says. "It will be a nice package for them to use during the winter." 

The senior has enlisted the help of local Payless Shoe Stores, who are donating the shoeboxes for the collection.

"Before I started helping out, I didn’t know much about the homeless," she says.

Her only connection to the homeless was a single homeless man that her family saw at a local grocery store parking lot when they lived in Santa Clara.

"We would always buy him a sandwich and a bottle of water," Nicole says.

Then, her sophomore year of high school her church, Westgate Church, began volunteering at a shelter in Santa Cruz called Elm Street Mission.

"When we were there the first time, I was a little nervous," she says. "I had never worked with the homeless before."

The teen worked in the clothing shack, helped dish food in the cafeteria and helped clean the shelter. While serving food, she says she'd be able to chitchat with the people while the line slowed down.

"They were really nice," she says. "They were normal people. They just wanted to talk. Now, it’s easier to see how much people need."

There are no official-drop off locations for the goods needed but Nicole says she can pick things up.

Items needed:

  • Socks
  • Inexpensive scarves
  • Travel-sized tooth paste, tooth brushes
  • Reading glasses

For more information, email nsteadman@pacbell.net.

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