After reading a newspaper article about the CARE Closet in Chino that provides clothing and hygiene items to students in need, Vincent Guerino of Chino Hills decided to make it his Eagle Scout project.
Boys seeking Scouting’s highest award of Eagle Scout must coordinate the fundraising and volunteers for community improvement projects.
During an initial visit to the CARE Closet, on the Chino Valley Adult School campus, Vincent was shocked to learn that foster children who access items from the facility often arrive at their new foster homes with only the clothes on their backs. Vincent and his mother Xochitl Guerino talked to a foster mother who was at the facility, while two girls – Vincent’s age – tried on clothing.
“I could see the impact that meeting had on Vincent,” Mrs. Guerino said. “On the drive home, he had a very hard time understanding how kids could not just go into their cabinet, cupboard or garage and get a new toothbrush or shampoo. He could not wrap his head around only having two pairs of pants and three shirts or one pair of shoes to wear.”
Vincent, a sophomore at Chino Hills High, and a Life Scout with Troop 1776, met with Mayra Lozano of the CARE Closet to learn what is needed for the homeless, foster and at-risk students who are helped there.
His “Operation Fill the Closet” project consisted of asking family, friends, fellow scouts and companies for donations in order to fill the closet with enough hygiene items to get it through the remainder of the school year.
Using a list provided by Ms. Lozano, he purchased deodorant, shampoo, laundry detergent, diapers and other items.
Vincent and 30 young volunteers delivered the items, then cleaned the CARE Closet facility, and organized and sorted other items.
“As a family, this project has changed us,” Mrs. Guerino said. “We told Mayra she had not seen the last of us, as we hope to continue to gather items and come back and help often.”