Backpacks full of socks, dozens of hot drink packets, tissues, towels, and blankets were among the more than 150 items Ms. Mathews' third grade FAB Lab group recently collected and donated to The Haven, a multi-resource day shelter for people experiencing homelessness in downtown Charlottesville.
"On any given night about 160 people are without homes in Charlottesville," Diane Boeke, The Haven's community engagement manager, told six FAB Lab group members who traveled to the shelter with the group's donations on Dec. 13.
"People who come to The Haven are our guests. We welcome them, and offer them a place to be and hospitality. There is no limit to how many times someone can come, or how long they can use our services. We do not give up, we are always ready to help with next steps and accessing services."
Located on West Market Street, The Haven offers guests laundry services, showers, computers to use, personal care products, meals, and more. However, it is not just a shelter but a resource for the entire Charlottesville community with performances, lectures, meetings and more taking place in the building.
"People can rent out the building and revenue goes to The Haven," explained Boeke. "Costs are low to keep it a community space. Those experiencing homelessness are a part of this community, there is no barrier between 'us' and 'them.'"
Following a chat with the group, Boeke provided a tour of the facilities and students were able to bring their food and drink donations directly to the kitchen to unload.
More photos from the group's visit are available on the School's SmugMug account.