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Project Night Night organizes comfort totes for homeless

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Project Night Night organizes comfort totes for homeless

Supplies can be dropped off at the front desk of the Rec Plex and the Rec Center.

Supplies can be dropped off at the front desk of the Rec Plex and the Rec Center.

Photo by Elena Feigen

Supplies can be dropped off at the front desk of the Rec Plex and the Rec Center.

Photo by Elena Feigen

Photo by Elena Feigen

Supplies can be dropped off at the front desk of the Rec Plex and the Rec Center.

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Marquette University partnered with Project Night Night, a national organization, starting 10 years ago to organize comfort tote bags filled with blankets, stuffed animals and more to give to homeless children in the Milwaukee area.

Project Night Night is currently donating to five shelters within Milwaukee: Casa Maria, Cathedral Center, Hope House, Joy House and Meta House.

According to their website, Project Night Night‘s mission statement is “to provide free Night Night Packages to homeless children from birth to pre-teen who need childhood essentials” in order to have sources of security during this time of upheaval.

“The purpose is to give children something that is theirs,” Edi Kuhn, volunteer coordinator for Project Night Night and Alumni Memorial Union building supervisor, said.

The organization was started about 10 years ago by Kathy Hawkins, a recently retired administrative assistant for social and cultural sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences, Kuhn said.

“I think (Hawkins) really wanted to provide opportunities for staff to be involved with the caring nature at Marquette,” Kuhn said.

When Project Night Night began, Hawkins did not know how it would perform.

“We received more than I expected and the project took off,” Hawkins said. Over 4,000 totes were sent out during the 10 years Hawkins coordinated the program.

When Hawkins retired in June of this year, it was unclear where Project Night Night would go.

“It seemed really unfortunate that the project would just end,” Kuhn said.

Kuhn said he became involved with the project in January and decided to continue it after Hawkins left.

“Our goal is generally to donate several bags and totes at least three times a year,” Kuhn said. “I’m hoping to communicate to figure out ways to support homeless shelters in addition to the tote bags.”

Blankets, children’s books, stuffed animals and more are accepted at the front desk of the Rec Plex and Rec Center, as well as the Alumni Memorial Union information desk.

“I think it’s important that they make Project Night Night more accessible to donate to because I had not heard anything about it,” Sarah Foley, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

The project is currently looking for blankets to fill the tote bags. They plan to construct tote bags the last week of this month and send them out the first week of December.

“Thanks for continuing this project,” Hawkins said. “It made me so happy.”

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