Toyota of El Cajon

YouTube Videos Boost Homeless Backpack Drive
by Karen Nielsen
Jan/Feb 2018
Toyota of El Cajon
Passionate Plight
Kathleen Farris sets up her tables in downtown San Diego to distribute donated items to the homeless. She enjoys talking to the people there to learn their stories.
Toyota of El Cajon Service Advisor Kathleen Farris has a heart for the homeless.

It started when Farris became an empty nester with some extra time on her hands. She put out the call on her Instagram account for jacket and blanket donations for the homeless in downtown San Diego. The response was overwhelming.

As she passed out the items, she asked some of the homeless people she met how she could help them.
“That’s when they told me they needed backpacks to put their stuff in because the police come early in the morning and make them leave,” she says.


Backpack Drive
Toyota of El Cajon is a collection site for Kathleen’s Korner.

Toyota of El Cajon is a collection site for the Kathleen's Korner Homeless Backpack Drive, which has a goal of collecting 2,000 backpacks and personal hygiene items to distribute to the homeless in San Diego County.

“My customers have been the best,” she says.

Kathleen’s Korner videos hosted on Toyota of El Cajon’s YouTube page have garnered more than 35,000 views. Social media coordinator Hendrix Nowells helps her shoot a video every couple of months, which is shared on the dealership’s and her personal social media sites.

“Kathleen has a personality that is magnetic and many of her customers adore her and her spirit,” Nowells says.

Farris has collected so many items that she’s converted her upstairs bedroom into storage space. Now when she visits the encampment, she brings tables so people can take what they need.

“They don’t really want a lot of things,” she says. “They can use shampoo and body wash, but they just want a conversation to feel that they’re human, too.”

Listening to their stories, she’s surprised to learn there are so many families with young children living there. As a cancer survivor, her eyes have been opened to what’s really important in life.

“You could see yourself in that situation,” Farris says. “I feel so honored that the homeless community allows me to come into their world. It’s heartbreaking what they have to go through.”
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