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Nevada National Guardsmen build kits for the homeless

Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 10:10 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s a Sunday night in Reno.

It’s dark and it’s cold. But that isn’t stopping Nevada National Guardsmen, Fernando Rodarte, and Najeh Abduljalil from making a difference.

“We go through training in the army,” said Rodarte. “Sometimes it can be really cold, and we know how it is when it gets really cold. We just see that from the perspective of homeless people who don’t necessarily have the stuff that we have.”

The men are putting together homeless kits - bags filled with items that will help people out on the streets. Each drawstring sack includes a beanie, socks, gloves, and hand-warmers. The duo is also collecting blankets.

What started as a small operation has exploded into something big.

“We were expecting just seven to ten bags in our first week. However, we actually got 900 of these donations,” said Abduljalil. “A lot of that came from Port of Subs and we’re really grateful for them. We are looking for more companies that are willing to help out as well.”

The two are trying to make it as easy as possible for donors.

“(Donors) call the phone number and we agree to a pick-up time and place and we’ll either go pick them up or they can drop them off,” Rodarte said.

The number to call for pick-up is (775) 318-3698. Rodarte and Abduljalil say they’ll also collect items from St. Vincent’s on Glendale, and the St. Vincent’s location off of Fourth Street.

“Even if you only have one of the items on the list we’d really appreciate it if you could help out,” said Abduljalil.”

Aside from taking care of those in need, the men see their initiative as a chance to pay it forward.

“There’s a lot of homeless veterans as well (that we’re thinking of),” said Rodarte. “That just gives us more opportunities to help the people that came before us.”

Donations will be accepted through March 20th.

For more information, visit the men’s Instagram page: @ResearchForChangeNV.

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