Nursing students at the University of Alberta are looking for new ways to raise money in order to continue providing backpacks filled with useful supplies to homeless people discharged from the hospital.
BAGS – or Backpacks Armed with Gear for Streetlife – is a project conceived by nursing students Katelyn Lee, Kelsey McDougall, Kevin Chung and Elizabeth Morris for their community health placement.
Lee, who remembered that in Finland newborn babies are discharged with a maternity box containing winter clothes, diapers and bedding, thought the concept could be adapted for Edmonton.
Providing the backpacks for people leaving the hospital to take up residence on the streets was a way to address vulnerability at a crucial point, said McDougall.
First the group determined what could be placed in the backpacks that would be helpful. When they received an overwhelming response, they approached stakeholders, potential sponsors, friends and families with their wish-list. And the donations – like soap, bus tickets, and Band-Aids – started pouring in. Added to the backpacks are lists of shelters and health care facilities.
The backpacks went to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in downtown Edmonton and they have all been handed out.
McDougall says they are now exploring other means by which they can continue the project.