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A cold reality on city streets

Glenville nonprofit hosts event to raise awareness, support for homeless youth

Rayn Boncie, founder of Things of My Very Own, filled her truck with donated winter items for homeless children. The non-profit hosted a Sleep Out on Thursday, Dec. 20, in Schenectady to collect items and raise awareness.

Rayn Boncie, founder of Things of My Very Own, filled her truck with donated winter items for homeless children. The non-profit hosted a Sleep Out on Thursday, Dec. 20, in Schenectady to collect items and raise awareness. Photo by John Purcell.

— Boncie said families are often unaware of programs that exist to shelter non-abusive family members and their children.

“A lot of our clients when they are fleeing, especially domestic violence situations, fear that when they get help that child protective services will separate their families,” Boncie said. “They end up homeless, because they don’t have another avenue that they know of.”

She added while there are lots of charities helping children this time of year, sometimes toys are the last thing on a child’s mind.

“It is right before Christmas and everyone is thinking toys … but we need to be able to sustain these children,” she said.

Jerry and Rachel Williams drove from Ticonderoga to participate in the event after helping Boncie plan it.

“Homelessness has been a big deal for us and it has been something we are talking about and working on the past couple of years,” Jerry Williams said. “Even though we both have jobs our house was foreclosed, so we are like, ‘We understand this to a point.’”

Williams said it is hard for people to fathom there are children in the area who have nothing.

“These are the people that tend to fall through the cracks … because a parent doesn’t want to tell people that they have a child and they are having trouble,” he said.

He said sacrificing one night was small compared to what some families go through.

“We can come out and be here one night, some of these families don’t have that choice,” he said. “It is important to get out there and put a face to this … it is a hidden problem and we know that it exists.”

Anyone interested in donating items or volunteering for Things of My Very Own should visit its website at www.tomvo.org.

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