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Volunteer group gives survival kits to the homeless

The kits, handed out by 'Hikers for the Homeless', contain a rain poncho, sewing kit, flashlight, utensils, first aid kit, dry socks, chapstick, can opener, and some toiletries.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A volunteer group, 'Hikers for the Homeless' is making it their mission to get help to those who need it most this season.

Galena Ojiem has been helping the homeless for the last year-and-a-half by giving out small care packages.

But after talking with some homeless people, she realized there's a specific need for certain items. That's when she came up with 'Hikers for the Homeless'.

"We want to let people know that there is someone out there who does care," says Ojiem.

Ojiem and volunteers hand out kits of homeless people in Syracuse.

"A little means a lot to a homeless person and I think that sums it up," says Robert Batsford, homeless in Syracuse.

"In the mornings, I wake up, I'm depressed and then someone comes along with a gift like this, and it feels good," says JJ Shatraw, who does not have a home.

Each survival kit has a rain poncho, sewing kit, flashlight, utensils, first aid kit, dry socks, chapstick, can opener, and some toiletries.

All of the items fit inside a waterproof reusable bottle.

Ojiem realized she could help more homeless people and save money buying in bulk, and by getting the community involved.

She created a 'Hikers for the Homeless' Facebook page and launched a crowd-funding campaign in January. Since then, the group has raised more than $1,500.

"Honestly the overall goal would be to end homelessness, but this is just my one little way of trying to help," says Ojiem.

A little help that makes a big difference.

"I'm thankful for the kindness of somebody and I'm grateful for just being able to survive another day," says Batsford.

'Hikers for the Homeless' is trying to become a non-profit and they're hosting a launch party this weekend to get their name out there.

If you eat at Quaker Steak and Lube this weekend, the restaurant will donate 15% of your bill to 'Hikers for the Homeless.' You have to bring or show the group's event card to get the promotion.

Visit 'Hikers for the Homeless' Facebook page for more information and to print out the event card.

Click here for the group's Facebook page.
Click here for the group's page on Indiegogo.

Donations can also be sent to:

Galena Ojiem
2262 Lamson Rd
Phoenix, NY 13135.
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