My recent experience with finding a place to live really opened my eyes to a lot of things. Just one of those things is the plight of people who really are homeless. During my recent adventure, I wasn't homeless, but I knew the fear of becoming homeless, and I made up my mind to try and do something to help. Thanks to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury's Human Services Department and the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Continuum of Care, there is a way we can all pitch in and do something.

The program is called "Winter Drive By." Now in its 6th year, this project has a goal of collecting as many donations as possible for the area's homeless. The drive has actually been going on since October 1st, and will continue through November 9th. Here are just a few items that are needed: Travel-sizes of the following items are needed: Deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, shaving cream, plastic bandages, first-aid kits, tissues, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer.

Other items needed include dental floss, disposable razors, soap, hairbrushes, 30 SPF (or higher) sunblock, shoe insoles, cough drops, diapers, solid color towels and washcloths, mosquito repellent, and sturdy totes and backpacks. As you can plainly see, there are a lot of opportunities to help out.

Here are the locations taking donations for Winter Drive By donations:

  • Lake Charles
    • Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Administration Building, 1015 Pithon St.
    • Allen P. August Multipurpose Building, 2001 Moeling St.
    • Business and Career Solutions Center, 2424 Third St.
    • United Way of Southwest Louisiana, 815 Ryan St.
    • Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Central Branch, 310 W. Claude St.
  • Sulphur
    • City Hall, 101 N. Huntington St.
    • Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Sulphur Regional Branch, 1160 Cypress St.
    • West Cal Arena and Events Center, 401 Arena Road.
  • Westlake
    • Managan Recreation Center, 1000 McKinley St.
    • City Hall, 1001 Mulberry St.

Once the items are all gathered together, they will be distributed on November 15th and 16th at the Business and Career Solutions Center, 2424 Third St. in Lake Charles. The distribution will start at 9 a.m. and wrap up at 3 p.m. each day. In order to take part in the distribution, folks will need an original, valid Louisiana license, photo ID, or passport. No copies will be accepted.

Each year, the Winter Drive By serves an average of 350 residents.

For more information, call 721-4030 (ext. 5120 or ext. 5045) or click here.