Tracylyn Sharrit tells the story of a little girl in foster care who moves from one location to another with all her worldly belongings in a plastic trash bag.
She knows firsthand what that’s like, because she was that little girl.
Now Sharrit is director of development for the Y.E.S campaign, a branch of Santa Claus, Inc. Y.E.S. stands for Youth Enrichment Services and is a year round service for homeless and foster children, making sure they have the necessary supplies and clothing to go to school.
The supplies come from the generosity of major stores as well as individual gifts.
“Mainly, we need shoes and socks,” she told the Rotary Club of Highland on Monday, Aug. 14, at the club;s regular meeting.
But sometimes, they get too many for the organization to handle, she recalls. A major retailer donated 27,000 pairs of shoes, she said.
“There was no way we could sort, catalogue, store and distribute that many shoes,” she said. “We contacted Rotary Clubs and gave out the shoes through them. We partner with many organizations.”
Their budget is $46,000 for 100,000 children, Sharrit said, adding that 90 percent of San Bernardino children are at or below the poverty level and need help from time to time.
That plastic trash sack that Sharrit carried as a girl is now a back pack filled with an assortment of supplies, including shoes and socks.
“It gives them a sense of ownership,” she says. The back packs contain about $100 worth of supplies, and it costs the program about 46 cents to fill them, thanks to the many volunteers and donations.
For more information, contact Sharrit at (909) 997-0692 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rotary Club of Highland meets at 5:30 p.m. Mondays at Mi Cocina Restaurant, Highland and Boulder avenues in Highland.