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SR family leads holiday project

Hygiene items sit ready to be sorted and packaged. (courtesy photo)

SR family leads holiday project

As the holidays approach, the spirit of giving and helping approaches as well. Scripps Ranch resident Victoria Muschek and her family embody the true meaning of the holidays as they begin their seventh year collecting and packaging hygiene items for homeless youth in San Diego.

The Muschek family began this tradition after Thanksgiving seven years ago, when they all took a trip to the 99 Cents Only store and purchased hygienic products such as toothbrushes, shampoo, and Band-Aids to put together “hygiene kits.”

After a couple of years of trial and error with handing out the bags to homeless people on the street, Muschek decided to partner with the San Diego-based nonprofit Monarch School. Established in 1987 in San Diego, the Monarch School is dedicated to breaking the barriers that hinder homeless students in becoming successful members of society. Monarch incorporates education with engagement.

“They approach everything with dignity,” Muschek said. “Most of these children and young people have lived in constant trauma, so the school treats and helps them as a whole individual.”

The San Diego County Office of Education and the California Department of Education reported more than 23,000 homeless students live in San Diego County. The pervasive issue of homelessness has united advocates and volunteers, like Muschek and her family, to find a solution.

“We can’t solve the problem right away, but we can do something and help others,” Muschek said. “If you’re in a position to give, then that’s what life’s about.”

Last year, Muschek and dozens of volunteers were able to put together approximately 500 hygiene kits, which lasted nine months for homeless students at Monarch. This year, Muschek hopes to create a year’s worth of kits.

Toothpaste, hotel-size toiletries, soap and toothbrushes are most welcome for donation.

Chile Peppers restaurant will again be the collection point for dropping off the donated items now through Dec. 18. Chile Peppers is located at 10299 Scripps Trail.

While Muschek faces the challenge of creating exposure for this project and for Monarch School, she still finds the work fulfilling and worthwhile.

“It’s definitely rewarding to be able to help children in a substantial way by giving them something that can last them for months,” Muschek said.

To learn more about Monarch School, visit monarchschools.org. For questions regarding donations, contact Victoria Muschek at bmuschek@san.rr.com.

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