Allison Park, Pa. – The women’s ice hockey teams at Robert Morris University and Chatham University recently challenged each other to a Move-in Basket Collection Competition to benefit clients of North Hills Community Outreach who are transitioning from homelessness. The leader of the “losing” team (the team with the least number of “full baskets”) had to take the Polar Plunge on December 14 – an overcast day marked with rain and snow.
RMU hockey alumnae Courtney Langston, an NHCO intern, and Jennifer Kindret, volunteer assistant women’s hockey coach at Chatham, coordinated the two-week effort from November 27 to December 11. The baskets, filled with necessities such as sheets, towels, cookware and more, were collected for clients who, under an Emergency Solutions Grant from the Allegheny County Department of Community and Economic Development, are moved into apartments under the Rapid Rehousing Program. North Hills Community Outreach assists people in hardship and crisis in northern Allegheny County by offering a wide range of programs and services from emergency food and utility help to job search assistance and an affordable vehicle program. The rehousing program is a partnership with Community Human Services.
Ms. Langston said the Rapid Rehousing Program helps people who are homeless for a variety of reasons. “Some are victims of domestic violence, some have been in and out of shelters or are on disability. They go through the program to get back on their feet and get their budgets in order,” she said.
“We talked to the players about the truths about homelessness,” said Ms. Langston. “Some of the clients don’t have anything when they move in. One woman showed up to move in with just her purse.”
The Move-in Baskets included such items as sheet sets, toothbrushes, toilet paper, soap, a pot and a pan, and sundries such as shampoo and conditioner. Together the teams collected 13 complete baskets, 15 half baskets, 549 bars of soap/body wash, 177 rolls of toilet paper, 22 blankets , 52 towels and much more. Chatham won by a small margin, but the competition was so close that both team leaders took the Polar Plunge.
North Hills Community Outreach is a community-and faith-based organization addressing the needs of people in northern Allegheny County in crisis, hardship and poverty. Last year, NHCO served 5,031 families in need.