East Bay high school students hand out 250 bags of essentials to homeless

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Freshman students from Monte Vista High School in Danville came into San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood in search of those homeless during the holidays. They brought with them 250 bags filled with donated essential items.

"There are socks, water bottles, tissues, toothbrushes and toothpaste," 9th grader Jackson Law said as he showed the inside of one bag.

"We added pads and tampons to the women's bag, because that stuff is expensive. Not everyone can afford that," said Leigha Miller.

Not long after the students arrived outside of Glide Memorial Church, people on the street approached them.

"I got some tissues for my nose, because my nose is running cause it's cold out here," said Norbert, who said he's homeless. Another man said he was most thankful for the water bottle.

Students also gave out new fleece blankets, which were a welcome sight to many, who said they spend the night sleeping outside.

The students, members of Monte Vista High School's leadership class, set a goal of creating 75 bags for this trip, but received more than double the donations.

"We started out by asking for donations from different classes and we were so surprised by how much each student brought in," said Miller.

"Everything is new. We went out and bought it; went to Target and did a run," said Law.

Walking just two blocks, however, the students realized 250 bags and blankets were not nearly enough for the homeless population in the neighborhood.

"There's always going to be one more person that doesn't get it and that's sad," said Miller. "We can always do it again to come back out here."

The people who did receive a bag from the students said it was exactly what they needed.

"I'm grateful for it, because I have nothing," said Renee, a homeless woman. "God answered my prayers. I needed some hygriene stuff and I need some socks and look what happened."

Norbert said he hoped to pay his luck forward and share what he received in the bag with other people homeless this holiday.

"It's the holidays," said Norbert. "I feel good being able to help out."