Fresh Start Kit

Fresh Start Kit

When we help a youth find affordable housing, they are so excited about moving into their new place. This anticipation is often accompanied by a feeling of being overwhelmed when they consider all the basics they will need. The cost of these basics can really put a large dent in the small amount of money they may have.

In order to keep the youth focused on the positive steps they are taking, we greatly appreciate donations to our inventory of housing basics for youth that are getting a ‘fresh start’.

“Finding a new housing opportunity is only half the challenge,” explains Chris Bouchard, Executive Director at Durham Youth Services. “Helping our youth furnish their new living arrangement allows them to be able to afford other necessities and can immediately turn a house into a home.”


If you or your organization would like to help re-stock our Fresh Start Kit cupboard with essentials to help make a youth’s move-in day a bit brighter… You can help build a Fresh Start Kit in one of three ways:

  • Visit one of our local retailers and purchase any of the items needed. Drop it off at the shelter with “Attention Director” on the items. Please call first so the staff knows to expect you.
  • Use this link to our online Wish List that details items we’ve identified on Amazon to fill our Fresh Start Kits. Items are delivered to a local UPS outlet and picked up by shelter staff.

All three of the above options provide you with the opportunity to include a personal note with words of goodwill and encouragement to the youth receiving the Fresh Start Kits.

Here is a detailed list of Fresh Start Kit items that youth transitioning to independent living could use:

  • Kitchen Essentials – pots with lid, frying pans, microwavable cookware, colanders or strainers, mixing bowls, cooking utensils (wooden spoon, spatula), can-openers, plates and bowls, cutlery, cutting boards, dish racks, tea towels, garbage bags, dish cloths, dish scrubbies, liquid dish soap and anti-bacterial cleansers, food storage items like saran wrap, Ziploc bags and aluminum foil, brooms and dustpans.
    Small appliances such as toaster oven, toasters and rice cookers (NO crockpots please!!)
  • Bedroom Basics – pillow, pillow cases, twin or double size sheet set, mattress pads, bed comforters, bed blankets
  • Bathroom Basics – towels (bath, hand and facecloth), non-slip bath mats, shower caddies, soap dishes, first aid kits or band-aids, plungers, toilet cleaning brushes (with holders) and cleanser
  • Laundry Essentials – laundry detergent, fabric softener, clothes hangers, laundry basket.

Thank you for helping provide a Fresh Start for a youth!

Other Client Needs

Durham Youth Services (DYS) staff work with three main groups of youth…

  1. Youth in-crisis that currently reside at the emergency shelter
  2. At-risk youth that are precariously housed and working with the DYS Youth Reconnect Counsellor to stabilize their housing situation
  3. Youth who have recently moved to independent living but maintain ties with shelter staff as they manage their transition

Here is a list of additional items that youth have said they find useful. Many of these items can be easily found at your local stores and pharmacies:

  • Cell phone chargers (android cord with the charger block)
  • Camping towels (smaller, thinner and more portable than a regular towel)
  • Washcloths
  • Cutlery
  • Can opener
  • Sun glasses
  • Rain poncho
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Hair brushes
  • Comb
  • Hair elastics
  • Tweezers
  • Lip balm
  • Band-aids
  • Small travel first aid kits
  • Travel wipes (like small packages of ‘wet ones’)
  • Small bottles of hand sanitizer
  • Small packs of Kleenex
  • Small flashlights and batteries
  • Large Ziploc bags (to keep items dry)
  • Presto card for Durham Regional Transit

Staff bundle these items into portable ‘essentials bags’ and although many of these basic care items are small, they are such a welcome and useful gift for a youth.

The spirit of giving comes in all shapes and sizes!

Electronic Gift Cards or Digital Gift Cards

Many youth in our programs are financially constrained and benefit from donations of gift cards to purchase food or other things to support their daily living.

An e-gift card (or ‘digital’ gift card), is a ‘touchless’ way to give a gift of food or small household items to a youth in need.

Both Walmart and No Frills/Superstore offer e-gift cards.

How they work: An e-gift card can be purchased on-line and sent directly from the store site to the recipient’s email. The recipient can use the e-gift card to pay for their in-store purchases or to order an item on-line.
Advantages include – no fees and flexible denominations. Also, an e-gift card does not expire.

In order to respect the confidentiality of the recipients, e-gift cards can be sent to:

  • “youth” (recipient name field)
  • “” (recipient e-mail)

Your gift card will be provided to youth in need.

Click here to purchase a No Frills/Superstore e-gift card for a youth.

Click here to purchase a Walmart e-gift card for a youth.

Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, gifts, donations and being part of our compassionate and supportive community.

Your donation matters!!

Please help Youth receive the support they need by donating now on our CanadaHelps site