While outside this morning for my boot camp workout, my water bottle started to freeze before the hour was even up (16 degrees, wind chill 3!). I couldn’t help but think about the homeless who don’t get to come home to a hot pot of coffee & a warm shower. THANK YOU all for your support of Project Warm Us – thousands of coats and blankets contributed this year!!! You are changing the story one coat at a time. Though we’ve wrapped up collection spots for the season, the need is ongoing. A $2 tax-deductible donation through our site gets a new military-grade blanket in the hands of a local homeless person. It could literally be lifesaving.
A number of you have reached out to ask if we’ll be doing Project Warm Us again this year. With passion like you guys have, the answer is “Of Course!”. Please start collecting new and gently used coats and blankets. If you would like to host a collection spot (translated: a box on your porch, at your office, at your favorite coffee spot…) let us know and we’ll add you to our Drop Spots page. We’ll collect through mid-December.
Project Warm Us has drawn to a close for this year with distribution of all remaining coats and blankets at the Dec. 15th Operation Care Christmas Party for the homeless. While we don’t have an exact count on how many items we collected and distributed this year, we can tell you this: you made a huge impact to help many, many people stay warm this winter! THANK YOU!!!
While our project has wrapped up, the needs of the homeless community have not. We’d like to highlight opportunities with two of our partner organizations: Our Calling and Denton County Friends of the Family. Whatever your time and talents are, you can support their efforts year-round in many different ways, including but not limited to the following:
Our Calling does some seriously amazing work, including search and rescues where they take resources directly to the people who need it. They can always use help in the following areas. Visit http://www.ourcalling.org/volunteer/ to learn more.
- Serve in one of their classes
- Sort donations and work in the warehouse
- Help with administration and office tasks
- Sit and listen to someone’s story and pray for them
- Mentor someone in a purposeful one-on-one relationship
- Help distribute resources on the streets (Search and Rescue)
- Collect items to distribute
- Help maintain their online resources
- Tax-deductible monetary donations – See their site for the big impact you can make with a small amount of money
Denton County Friends of the Family provides compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. They have a large shelter for women and children who are homeless as a result of these situations. Help them by:
- Sort donations and work in the thrift store
- Children’s programs: Volunteers provide a positive experience for children living at the shelter by facilitating activities (field trips, tutoring, arts and crafts, games, etc.) and creating a sense of normalcy for children who have been abused or witnessed abuse
- Help with administration and office tasks
- Collect items to distribute
- Tax-deductible monetary donations (link)
Out sorting coats and blankets this morning to get ready for distribution. I am keenly aware that each one I put my hands on means a homeless person right here near us will be not-so-cold this winter. It’s overwhelming. Thank you all for spreading the word. WE STILL NEED MANY MORE. You can drop donations at one of our 3 main collection sites, or paypal us right here from our web site ($2 gets a heavy blanket!).
- Our Calling, 500 S. Haskell, Dallas, TX 75223. If you take your donations direct to Our Calling, please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how many items you had. That way, we can count them toward our goal!
- Frisco collection point, Wissing home, 12201 Chattanooga Drive, Frisco, TX 75035.
- Highland Village/Flower Mound collection point, Woodson home, 319 Mockingbird Drive, Highland Village, TX 75077
Many of you have reached out eager to get more hands-on in helping the homeless this holiday season – to get beyond gathering coats and blankets (which is awesome!) but to also be involved in distributing them or otherwise lending a hand.
- Mission Arlington Thanksgiving Day - The details are online at http://www.meetup.com/randomacts/events/88924172/?a=me1_grp&rv=me1 – They need lot of volunteers still, and there are a variety of roles.
- Thanksgiving Dinner at Our Calling - http://www.ourcalling.org/volunteer/thanksgiving/ – The spots for distributing coats and blankets are filled, but you will see they are still looking for table hosts. That may be a good fit for a family or team to do – host a table. You sign up and get info through their site. Here is the description: Table Hosts will be responsible for decorating one table for 8 and supplying the dishes, cups, and silverware for their table. Table hosts will lead their table in the blessing and then eat Thanksgiving dinner with our special guests. You do not need to supply the food. Please arrive a few minutes early to decorate your table. One Ticket = One Table.
- Operation Care Christmas Party: Many of the coats and blankets we collect will be distributed through Operation Care. Operation Care International’s 9th annual Christmas Gift for the Homeless, described as the ‘nation’s largest Christmas party for the homeless’, will be held at the Dallas Convention Center on Saturday, December 15, 2012. More details and links to sign up to volunteer here: http://operationcareinternational.org/christmas_gift_2012 It is a huge event with a massive need for volunteers. Highly recommend it.
- Denton County Friends of the Family Adopt-A-Family: You can provide a meal and/or gifts for a family that have been impacted by domestic violence. See http://www.dcfof.org/ for more details. Michelle Houston is their awesome outreach coordinator and can connect your family with a number of ways to get engaged and help.
Have a front porch? Put it to work for good by hosting a Project Warm Us drop box! It’s just this easy: http://www.projectwarm.us/become-a-drop-location/ . We’re on our way to collecting enough coats and blankets for every homeless person in Dallas by Thanksgiving.
There are plenty of spots left to help distribute coats and blankets to the homeless at this Saturday’s Operation Care Christmas Gift 2011 event. Shifts are 7AM-noon and 11AM-5PM. Aside from helping hand out gifts, there are lots of other ways to serve (kids activities, footwashing, prayer, and more). Check out the Operation Care website for a list of options and sign up.
My amazing friend Liz (love ya, girl!) just shared this email that she sent to her network, and I wanted to pass it along. A concise, creative way to get your buddies on the ProjectWarm bus.
A couple of my crazy friends are collecting coats and blankets to distribute to the homeless of Dallas. There are currently give or take 5,723 people who are homeless in Dallas, and the goal these gals have is to get a coat and/or blanket for every single one by Thanksgiving. They have 2000+ now and I would love to help them meet their goal of 5,723!
Please take 10 minutes (set a timer and see if you can beat it!) to do the following this weekend with me:
1. (4 minutes) Look through your children’s coats, try on and find any that are too small.
2. (2 minutes) Look through your coat closet and see if you can downsize your own coat wardrobe.
3. (1 minute) Look through your linen closet and see if you can downsize your blanket choices.
4. (3 minutes) Call, text or email 3 friends to ask them to do the same. Offer to bring their donations to me on Monday as well.
Just think: we have the power to literally save a life. Remember all the snow and ice last year? Try to imagine not having a coat or blanket or (worse to imagine) your child not having one – and being out in the elements 24/7.
Can you help me help?
With only a couple weeks left til our self-imposed goal of 5,723 coats and blankets by Thanksgiving, we’re extremely exited! We are nearly halfway there, and have gotten encouraging calls and emails from many folks who have heard about us and are collecting. The total we post each day only includes coats and blankets that have made their way to either Jody’s or Lin’s homes; we know many of you are out there collecting and have stockpiles that will greatly increase our numbers once we pick them up.
Aside from collecting, we wanted to share a few other ways you could help:
1) Keep spreading the word! Leverage your networks, schools, offices, church groups, sports teams, Facebook, chance encounters with strangers in check-out lines… We have handy “tiny flyers” you can print out to share the story easily. See our Resources page.
2) Don’t live nearby? Or just want to do more? ”Cash is always handy”. Through some shrewd negotiation by Jody and Elizabeth (and God opening some generous doors), we have deals in place with the local CCA to save and sell us their coats and blankets at a deep discount. We also take advantage of “dollar Mondays” to stock up, so every dollar means a coat or blanket going to keep someone warm. We have a PayPal link on the front page of our site, left side: www.ProjectWarm.Us .
3) Give your time! There are opportunities to help with distribution directly to the recipients, as well as many opportunities before then to help with sorting, hauling, and otherwise dealing with the mass of schtuff we’ve collected. You can sign up online to serve at the Thanksgiving dinner. We will also be having “sorting parties” and ad-hoc trips into downtown Dallas to hand out warmth directly to individuals who are out in the cold. Please “like” our Facebook page for the latest-breaking opportunities to get personally involved (e.g., Jody posted this week asking for help to wash a load of coats.)
4) Pray! This whole crazy adventure is in God’s hands. Please join us in thanking him for the opportunity to help in His plan, and asking for his continued guidance, favor and wisdom on the project.