Organizers are disappointed with the results of a campaign to gatherbasic necessities like shampoo, diapers and toilet paper for the homeless, as the month-long drive nears its end.
Contributions at sites throughout the state have dropped off drastically from last year, said Peggy Vick, county organizer of Boxes for Blankets, sponsored bythe non-profit Action for the Homeless.
At the end of last February, Boxes for Blankets had collected some 500 boxes -- more than two and a half tons -- of diapers, toiletries, blankets and linens, and sent them to more than 70 shelters aroundthe state.
But as the third campaign comes to a close tomorrow, donations amount to only between 50 and 75 boxes, Vick said.
"This year, it's a matter of a lack of advertisement and so many different drives before, during and after Christmas," with little coordination among drives, said Vick, who is also the director of the Salvation Army for North County.
Although many people have donated new or usedclothing, the drive has failed to pull in an adequate supply of personal items, she said. Boxes for Blankets desperately needs toiletriesand items for babies, such as diapers, bottles and formula.
"The need is traumatic and immense," Vick said. "Imagine that you don't have shampoo or personal hygiene items, living on the street, or you don't have toilet paper. It's a self-esteem issue."
The items will be distributed throughout the year by shelters -- including five in the county -- soup kitchens and other groups that serve the homeless.
Vick estimated that at any time, about 10 to 20 people live on the street in North County. On any given night, nearly 5,000 people are homeless in Maryland, she said. Last year, 47,000 people sought help from shelters throughout the state.
In the county, drop-off sites are: the Annapolis Armory, 18 Willow St.; the Glen Burnie Armory, 14 Dorsey Road; Safeway stores in Pasadena, Arnold, Severna Park and Edgewater; and Jiffy Lubes in Severn, Annapolis, Gambrills, Pasadena and Millersville.
This year's campaign focused on blankets, disposablediapers, sheets and towels, tooth brushes, tooth paste, shampoos, shaving lotion, disposable razors and hand lotion, new socks, new underwear and baby supplies.
After tomorrow, donations may be made at Salvation Army offices, Vick said.