SDSA Honor Society’s suitcase project helps HALO help homeless

19 HALO students on steps

Southern Delaware School of the Arts Honor Society students prepare to load suitcases filled with basic necessities bound for Hope and Life Outreach (HALO), an organization based in Salisbury that assists homeless children and families

SELBYVILLE – Suitcases decorated with wintry/holiday sparkle and packed with basic necessities by Southern Delaware School of the Arts eighth graders were loaded into Megan Saulsbury’s vehicle Monday afternoon.

The destination: Hope and Life Outreach (HALO), an organization based in Salisbury that assists homeless children and families.

23 HALO megan with students

Megan Saulsbury shares information on HALO with students.

Supported by donations from the community, SDSA’s Honor Society embarked on this community service project that culminated Monday.

A half dozen suitcases – all but one painted by Honor Society students – contained toiletries, blankets, cold-weather clothing, gloves, hats and assorted toiletries, including mouthwash.

“For eighth graders it’s a good way to kind of get the realization that there are people out there who need things that they normally have on an everyday basis,” said Frank Shockley, SDSA school counselor. “They might not have a toothbrush. They might not have Listerine. They might not have things to keep them warm at night.”

“Every little bit helps because we are based solely on donations,” Ms. Saulsbury, HALO’s Day Facilities Administrator. “We don’t get any government funding, so it’s community donations and individual donors.”

Among those on hand at packing day was Mr. Shockley’s mother, Teresa Shockley, whose volunteerism crusade includes helping the homeless.

“It’s children giving back to children,” said Ms. Shockley of Frankford.

The project doubled as a neat way to showcase students’ talent.

“The packing was today. We thought the suitcases were going to take a couple days but it only took a day to paint them,” said Mr. Shockley. “These kids are very talented artistically.”

“Not only are the suitcases full of stuff but decorated as well. We can them display,” said Ms. Saulsbury.

“What better way to connect an art school with arts to an outside organization?” Mr. Shockley said. “This all goes for community service hours, so that’s another reason why we thought it would be a great idea to have them pack the items.”

Lisa McVey and Dori Camper are co-advisors for the SDSA Honor Society, which has collaborated with HALO in the past.

HALO’s Center of Hope includes a shelter for men, a shelter for women/children, a café and a day program. There are about 50 beds in each shelter.

In addition, a dozen to 15 beds in each shelter are dedicated to HALO’s Journey of Hope, a longer-term program for the homeless ranging from 12 to 18 months.

“During cold winter months we try not to turn anybody way, even if we have to use the café at night; cots and what not,” said Ms. Saulsbury.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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