Rachel Kicklighter enjoys spending her Sunday afternoons in Savannah’s Forsyth Park.
But the 16-year-old Richmond Hill teen isn’t there for the scenery — she’s there to give back to homeless and underprivileged people in the surrounding communities.
As a volunteer with People Helping People of Savannah, an all-volunteer organization that sets up shop in the park each week to provide a sermon, meals and more to the homeless, Kicklighter joins the volunteers to distribute hygiene products.
Kicklighter said the effort offers resources like food, clothes, school supplies, hygiene products and more each week to help nearly 400 people who benefit from the donations.
She said she started volunteering at the beginning of the summer after going one Sunday to the park with a friend.
“My friend from church does it sometimes, and I just went and everyone was so nice,” Kicklighter, who attends church and school at Savannah Christian, said. “They really appreciate everything you do, and you can tell it really makes a difference. They’re just kind of down on their luck, and I just want to help them out.”
Since then she has been collecting and distributing the hygiene products at the park each week.
“With three (hundred) or 400 people, it’s really hard to supply all that stuff,” she said. “Some people bring care packages, and me and my mom will go to the dollar store and buy a whole bunch of stuff but that got really expensive.”
She said she enjoys seeing the reactions of the people who come each week.
“They’re really excited — you can tell it’s relief on their face that they’re going to have stuff, so they’re really thankful and nice,” she said. “There are people that come up and they have a job interview that week or something important and they don’t have soap or razors or anything like that.”
She also continues to volunteer because she enjoys being able to help others.
“I love it, it helps a lot,” she said. “Just knowing I can help them out and do what God wants me to do … be his hands and feet, I guess you could say.”
Kicklighter said she “definitely” plans to keep donating hygiene products each week, but said she can’t do it alone. She has set up two drop-off locations in hopes of getting help from the community — one at Bryan Bank and Trust on Ford Avenue in Richmond Hill and the other at 204 Animal Hospital off of Highway 204 near Savannah.
“Everyone has that drawer of old hotel soaps and that stuff in their house, so that stuff helps a lot,” Kicklighter said.
She asks for travel sized donations of deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and lotion. She also said toothbrushes, razors, combs, hair bands, toilet paper, shaving cream and any other hygiene product will help. She also asked for reading glasses because volunteers also give out Bibles.
For more information about People Helping People of Savannah, visit http://peoplehelpingpeopleofsavannah.blogspot.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/PeopleHelpingPeopleofSavannah.