The reigning Miss Milford, Rebecca Gasperetti, hopes to lend a helping hand to those in need through her platform which she calls “Homelessness Awareness and Prevention: Code Purple.” Miss Gasperretti says that her goal for the year of her reign and beyond is to help those in need and encourage the youth as well as the rest of the community to do the same.
“I have always believed that the smallest deed makes the biggest difference,” Miss Gasperetti said. “That is why I created ’40 Days of Giving,’ an idea that sprouted from a Facebook post that my pageant director, Heather McKinney, came across and shared with me.”
Miss Gasperetti said that “40 Days of Giving” is an event that will take place throughout Lent, which began on Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016. She is asking people to place on item of clothing in a bag each day during the Lenten season. At the end of the 40 days, they are asked to donate the 40 clothing items to a homeless shelter. However, she not only asking for clothing.
“The best thing about my version of this event is that you can donate anything you want,” Miss Gasperetti said. “You can donate clothes, kitchenware, bed linens, toys, books, anything. You don’t even have to limit it to 40 items. You can pass that number if you want.”
Homelessness is a complex housing issue that has many causes. According to the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware, there are an average of 1,200 people who are homeless on any given night and more than 6,000 who are homeless throughout the year. Of those who are considered homeless, 16 percent are considered chronically homeless, which means they have been homeless one year or longer and/or have had four or more episodes of homelessness in the past three years.
Code Purple is enacted whenever the night temperature drops below 32 degrees, prompting additional shelters to open. A Code Purple shelter is not a traditional shelter as it provides aid to the homeless on nights when the temperature is extremely low. In Milford, the Milford Community Center on NE Front St opens as a Code Purple Shelter during nights of extreme cold.
Meals are provided by volunteers to those who take advantage of the Code Purple shelter. In 2015, 61 people were provided shelter at the Milford Community Center and those numbers grow higher each year. The center accepts donations of all types in order to provide the homeless that take advantage of the shelter basic needs. They accept donations of clothing, hats, scarves, gloves and coats as well as bottled water, paper goods, soap, laundry detergent, toiletries, blankets, sheets and pillows.
Those who wish to participate in the “40 Days of Giving,” can contact the Milford Community Center at 302-775-0770 or 302-725-0603 to Miss Milford at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to donate your items. More information can also be acquired by emailing them at milfordmccommunitycenter@gmail. com or by visiting their website at www. milfordmccommunitycenter.com.