BY JENNA BRAUN
Some teenagers, regardless of the school they attend or the smile on their faces, may be struggling to afford the simplest necessities of life. There are homeless teenagers right here in our community.
According to Covenant House Toronto, half of all homeless youth come from middle or upper income families.
Jeans for Teens is an organization that partners with Aéropostale every year at the end of autumn, collecting thousands of pairs of jeans for homeless teenagers throughout North America.
“I think Jeans for Teens is important because it gives us the opportunity to recycle jeans we don’t want anymore and put them towards a good cause,” said Shauna Peters, a Fairview Mall Aéropostale employee.
According to dosomething.org, the item homeless teens request most when looking for used clothing is a pair of jeans.
Over the past eight years, the organization has collected five million pairs of jeans that were given to youth in need. Last year, 723,188 pairs of jeans were donated with 82,435 volunteers helping out with the drive.
Groups of students in elementary schools and high schools throughout North America work together to collect used jeans from students and bring them to their local Aéropostale. Store employees then deliver them to nearby homeless shelters and charities.
“These teens can’t afford to buy clothes,” said Carly Thibodeau, a Fairview Mall Aéropostale employee. “For every person who donates, Aéro gives them a 25 per cent off coupon for their next pair of jeans too.”
Throughout the years, even celebrities such as Demi Lovato, Kristen Bell and Chloe Grace Moretz have gotten involved.
As of December 2014, there were 339 people in Waterloo Region experiencing homelessness. According to the Homeless Hub, in 2013 there were 3,492 individuals living in emergency homeless shelters.
If interested, anybody can stop by the Aéropostale at Fairview Mall or at Conestoga Mall to donate their jeans.