New program provides 'Care on the Go' packages to homeless in Ramsey County, Minn.

- The Ramsey County sheriff's department is calling on the community to help them out as they launch a new initiative aimed at getting people back on their feet. 

The sheriff's office estimates that about 1,500 bookings at the jail each year are of homeless inmates, many of whom leave with no possessions.

Now, a new program is trying to change that.

The department plans to collect items to use in the "Care on the Go" program, which provides toiletries and other necessities to the homeless.

“For us and for me personally, 'to whom much is given, much is required'...anything we can do to help people,” said Ramsey County Undersheriff Booker Hodges. 

Hodges said he got the idea for the packs from a recent church sermon that mentioned programs used in other cities.

“I'm like, ‘we can do that here, we have a lot of homeless people that come into our jail,'” Hodges said.

The packs contain toiletries and some items of clothing that could go a long way to help when the inmates are released.

Hodges estimates about 10 percent of the jail’s population at any given time is homeless, a reason why the “Care on the Go” packs will contain information on available resources.

“We can’t control who comes into our jail, but we can control how we treat them, and what we’re able to provide people…that’s what this is about for me and for us,” Hodges said. 

Hodges said with the public's help, this can be a much larger effort.

“We hope other agencies follow suit - other sheriff’s offices and other jails. I hope we’re able to maintain this for the foreseeable future,” he said.

The sheriff's office is collecting donations at the law enforcement center, the courthouse and various community events in the coming weeks.

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