Isabella Abbott | Features Editor
Sept. 29, 2022
While most people may not think twice about buying hygiene products, these types of items aren’t as accessible to the homeless community, who are in desperate need of them.
That’s why on Sunday night, Phi Lambda Sigma members gathered in room 119 of the Union to make support bags for Pittsburgh’s homeless community. Members of the Pharmacy Leadership Society, and some students outside of the society, wrote letters and put together bags full of essential items for a local organization, St. Vincent de Paul.
Marleah Schlick, Phi Lambda Sigma’s service chair, said members of the society are always willing to give back.
She said that being in the society has allowed her to serve her community. She also said that she’s started to “find a passion for serving the homeless.”
At the start of the event, members were asked to begin by writing cards for the homeless. Since many members knew about this group’s passion toward faith and God, they even included some Bible verses in their writing and words of encouragement.
Schlick said that when their society goes to serve the homeless community with St. Vincent de Paul Downtown every Sunday, she noticed that many of them are very in touch with God.
“We go down and ask for their prayer intentions every week,” Schlick said. “Almost every single one of them asked for us to pray for them in some way.”
Alyssa Ripper, a member of Phi Lambda Sigma, said she went to the event Sunday night and joined the society because she enjoys outreach and volunteer work.
“I really liked that idea of being able to give back even more than I already was,” Ripper said. “I think that’s a really important way to do it.”
The women who attended the event were able to make an assembly line, putting each item into a bag, along with a card for each person that read ‘friend’ on the front.
Member Bridget Trabbold said the efforts they made during the packing process were thoughtful and worthwhile.
“We kind of just set it up by first starting off with getting your letter done and making sure that it was really thoughtful and meaningful,” Trabbold said. “And then packaging all those items in a bag.”
Lined up across the table and ready to be packed were piles of essential products like socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner and even a foil blanket for the winter months.
Ripper said having these essential items will give them a sense of cleanliness, as well as a new hope for people to view them as worthy of help.
“We see them everyday, especially in Downtown Pittsburgh, but I don’t think enough people actually consider what they need and actually have the opportunity to give back,” Ripper said. “I think it’s really important, especially as we’re heading into winter, that they have these resources available.”
Schlick agreed with Ripper and said she wanted the people she gives back to to feel like they’re a part of the Pittsburgh community.
“Being able to help them, clean up a little bit … Feel a little bit more human, to feel like they’re part of the community, I feel like that’s super important,” Schlick said. “It can also help them maybe when they’re going for a job interview.”
All of the bags made during the event will go to St. Vincent de Paul, who will then give them to the homeless community Downtown. Any leftover items from the night that didn’t fit in a bag will also be donated.