HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s called “Blankets From Warm Hearts,” and the title sums up the project. The North Alabama Coalition For the Homeless is asking the community to donate blankets, coats, gloves, hats, thermal underwear – anything to help keep people warm.
The annual drive has been held for more than 15 years, but unfortunately, the need hasn’t diminished. Also important, it isn’t a matter of coming up with just one blanket, hat and pair of gloves per person.
“We’re talking about multiple, because people who live out in the woods, or live under bridges get wet. They don’t have a place to dry it, so they need new warm coats, and scarves and blankets,” says Danielle Clemons, Executive Director of the First Stop Homeless Day Center.
Homeless advocates want to make sure people understand the winter goods are for more than just comfort.
NACH Executive Director Lineise Arnold says the ultimate goal of their client continuum is self-sufficiency.
“The street outreach component, transitional housing to permanent housing, and in that program there is case management provided to the clients which helps the clients find employment, helps the clients that are able to get enrolled in school, helps the clients to develop budgets and try to avoid becoming in a homeless situation again in the future,” Arnold says.
Arnold also reminds the faces of homelessness are changing rapidly, from people with strong work histories who have recently been laid off to those who are highly educated but have fallen on hard times.
“The individuals that we serve now are a lot of people who have never envisioned being in a circumstance like this, a lot of first time homeless families, first time homeless clients that aren’t aware of the normal resources that are available to them because they’ve never had a need for those services before.”
“So many of our street population, their health is compromised already, so blankets and coats and socks are really lifesavers,” says Sherry Birney of the Coalition.
The Blankets From Warm Hearts drive runs several months, and there are multiple places to drop off your donation:
Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Latham United Methodist Church
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
The Rock Family Worship Center
First Stop Homeless Day Center
Salvation Army Lodge Office
Christmas Charities Year Round
Huntsville Main Public Library-Circulation Desk
First Christian Church
Madison Christian Church
Madison City Hall
Dublin Memorial Park
Madison Senior Center