As a new year began, many of us were filled with hope and promise for what lies ahead. We resolved to be healthier, give back to others, and accomplish things we’ve never had time to do before.
But for Cleveland’s homeless, including the nearly 2,000 people who do not stay in traditional shelters for various reasons, the new year brought new fears and concerns.
Will last year’s deadly sub-zero temperatures return?
Can I keep myself warm enough tonight to wake up tomorrow?
When will I have another pair of dry socks to protect my feet?
Community West Foundation works closely with organizations in direct contact with the homeless each day. We’ve visited the homeless camps. We’ve seen the dire need for warm, dry clothing, especially socks, shoes, and other essentials throughout the winter and early spring.
That’s why we’re calling on you to help. Community West Foundation has partnered with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless to collect items for its annual Winter Blanket Drive, and we’re also collecting monetary donations to supplement their efforts.
Socks solve a major problem for the homeless: Frostbite. A variety of bacterial infections just add to the list of uncomfortable ailments homeless people must live with every day when they don’t have clean, dry socks.
Socks and underwear are usually tossed out once they’ve been worn, and for good reason. But new, unused socks and underwear are what many homeless need most.
Socks are not the only essentials the homeless need to protect themselves. We’re also collecting new or gently used boots, gloves, hats, winter coats and blankets.
Who Am I Helping?
Community West Foundation supports a number of organizations that help Cleveland’s homeless, including:
The Metanola Project serves the homeless in Cleveland who don’t use regular shelters due to mental illness, fear or other factors. Due to last winter’s extreme cold, the Metanoia Project was open a total of 107 days, an increase of 25 percent over the previous winter.
Care Alliance provides basic healthcare to people in Cleveland who are homeless or live in public housing. In 2011, Care Alliance served more than 9,600 people.
Malachi Center is a community and family resource center that helps homeless men and women living on the Near West Side of Cleveland. They provide free showers, toiletry supplies and clothing including socks, a desperately needed essential.
St. Paul’s Community Outreach
St. Paul’s workers meet the homeless where they are, visiting them in the places they frequent. They’ll talk with them and provide information and supplies, and connect them with safe housing, drug treatment centers and counseling.
As these outreach workers walk the streets of Cleveland this winter, they’ll need a constant supply of socks, shoes and warm clothing to provide to those they meet.
Donate today at communitywestfoundation.org. You can also collect socks, shoes, warm clothing, blankets and more at your workplace, church or school. Blankets and other supplies can be dropped off at NEOCH, 3631 Perkins Ave., Third Floor, Cleveland. Groups with more than 35 items can contact NEOCH at 216-432-0540 to arrange for pickup.