The Homeless Outreach [THOR] Project is the only organization on campus primarily focused on serving homeless individuals while also building a connection between the St. Olaf Community and the homeless populations of Northfield and the greater Twin Cities area.  By collecting and distributing toiletries, THOR hopes to provide basic necessities while also raising awareness of homelessness in the community to promote change. Since the fall of 2014, we have lead THOR in organizing numerous toiletry drives and have collected a total of 706.04 pounds of toiletry items to date.

Earlier this school year, THOR received the fall semester Caf Fast fundraiser through St. Olaf’s Student Government Association.  In total, THOR recruited 1,108 student participants and raised $2,437.60, which set a new Caf Fast record.  All proceeds were donated to the Community Action Center of Northfield’s Emergency Rental Assistance Fund. The fund is intended to provide a safety net for families who may fall behind on rent payments due to illness, job loss or other circumstance, as a relatively small amount of money can keep the family stable. Thus, THOR is committed not only to providing basic necessities to those who are already homeless but also to prevent homelessness from occurring.

In addition to our many toiletry collection drives, THOR expanded its presence on campus this year in hosting many other events to raise awareness of homelessness amongst the student body. Examples of events included our

Shadow Campaign (we created a total of six person-shaped cut-outs and placed them around campus with stories and statistics regarding homelessness in Northfield), HealthCare for the Homeless Speaker (featuring Dr. Danielle Robertshaw, Medical Director of HealthCare for the Homeless of Hennepin County), and Homelessness Awareness Sleep Out (we partnered with Charlie Platt and Eleanor Worley to sleep-out in downtown Northfield’s Bridge Square to draw awareness to the stigmatized and often invisible experience of being homeless).

This semester we plan on hosting a dinner discussion on the first Tuesday of every month to talk about a wide range of issues pertaining to homelessness. We’ll also be welcoming a speaker to campus on April 26th to share his story ‘From Law School to Homeless Advocacy,’ in addition to our usual toiletry drives and frozen chocolate covered banana sale. Get pumped! 🙂