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Canby High School Theatre Troupe is collecting items Jan. 13-17 for women experiencing homelessness

In Portland, more than 1,800 people sleep on the streets, under the bridges and in the parks each night, according to the nonprofit JOIN. Many of these are women who don't have access to basic hygiene products. This month, Canby High School's theatre troupe is stepping up to help.

COURTESY PHOTO: ERIC WARD ON UNSPLASH - Canby High School's theatre troupe is collecting hygiene items for women experiencing homelessness on Jan. 13-17 at the high school's front office and the Canby Public Library.

Theatre Troup 632 is partnering with high school leadership to participate in a friendly statewide competition with fellow theatre troupes to see who can collect the most hygiene products for the cause.

"With this competition among our fellow troupes approaching, we are gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to be a thespian—to serve those in need and bring people of all different backgrounds together to succeed," said Cadence Moore, CHS student and spokesperson for the theatre troupe.

The troupe is asking the Canby area community to help with this "Hygiene Project" by donating between Jan. 13-17 at the high school's front office and the Canby Public Library.

During this timeframe, organizers are collecting new and unopened items including menstrual pads, deodorant, lotion, soap, shampoo, socks and other basic toiletry and hygiene items.

The troupe's goal is to collect 500 items.

Once the collection week is over, the troupe will take the items to the regional thespian competition on Feb. 1, and the items will be passed on to JOIN, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting individuals experiencing homelessness to transition into permanent housing. Their efforts are particularly focused on those sleeping outside or in their car in the Portland Metro area, per the organization.

In 2018, 1,377 people left the street with JOIN's assistance, they said; and thanks to JOIN's ongoing support, after 12 months, 83 percent of those households remained stable.

"In researching JoinPDX further, we saw the heartbreaking amount of people who experience homelessness," Moore said. "With massive amounts of homelessness in our region and the colder months descending, people need our help now more than ever."

According to Moore, Canby's theatre troupe hopes to make the Hygiene Project an annual event.

"As our annual regional competition continues, troupe 632 hopes to support the drive for years to come," Moore said, "competing not only with our fellow troupes, but trying to set the bar higher for ourselves every year."

Kristen Wohlers
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