ROCKFORD, Mich. -- Shanee Laurent is Amway's October Pay it Forward Person of the Month.
A year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Laurent is continuing treatment to beat the disease while finding the time to help the homeless in West Michigan. The working wife and mother has launched a drive, collecting new and used backpacks, along with food, personal care items and winter gear. She plans to use the donations to create "homeless care kits" that will be distributed in the coming weeks.
Laurent tells FOX 17 she got the idea after viewing a video online, and decided last August was the perfect time to get the ball rolling.
"For my birthday, I put out word on Facebook and said all I want for my birthday is your kids' used backpacks," she explained. "It's really amazing. People are very generous. I can't thank everyone who's donated enough."
Dozens of items have come in, along with about 70 backpacks. Laurent has partnered with a Pinerest program called P.A.T.H. (Projects for Assistance In Transitions from Homelessness) to distribute the "homeless care kits" next month.
"Just knowing that my time here is being useful, that I can affect positive change in someone else's life means a lot to me," Laurent said. "I feel extremely fulfilled doing this type of thing."
Brian Laurent, Shanee's husband, said the project has become somewhat of an outlet, allowing her to focus her efforts on something positive, while continuing to fight breast cancer.
"She has a warm heart and a very giving hand," he said. "I think it's a great thing. I don't think anyone should ever be cold. I don't think anyone should ever go to bed hungry."
Laurent plans to continue collecting items through November 15th.
The two drop off locations are:
The Rustic Market
389 68th Street S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49548
Hours: Monday-Friday 9 am - 7 pm, Saturday 9 am - 4:30 pm
The Pine Rest Thrift Store
2741 28th Street S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Hours: Monday-Friday 9 am - 7 pm, Saturdays 9 am - 4:30 pm
Laurent is also looking for volunteers to help assemble those homeless care kits on Sunday November 16th. To learn more about the event, click here.
To learn more about donating, and what items are needed, click here.