With temperatures dropping, Alachua County residents are starting to bundle up. But the 2,100 homeless in Alachua County sometimes have a difficult time staying warm during the cold months.
To help the homeless combat the cold, the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry is collecting new and gently used winter wear to be distributed to those in need in Gainesville.
Theresa Lowe, director of the coalition, said having an adequate winter coat can have a major impact on a homeless person’s life.
“It’s harder to go apply for a job,” Lowe said. “It’s harder to get from place to place when it’s cold. So if we could just put a coat on folks, just that one little bit of humanity, it’s a good thing.”
New and gently used coats can be dropped off at the Alachua County Housing Authority at 703 NE First St. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The drive is also collecting hats, gloves, scarves, tents, blankets and sleeping bags.
All items are distributed for free. Because of the coalition’s reputation in Gainesville, many homeless are already looking to it for warmer clothing, Lowe said.
“We have a lot of folks that know where we are,” she said. “We’ve been doing this now for several years, so they come into our office and say, ‘Do you have any coats?’ We kind of find what fits them and give them out to them.”
But Lowe said there is an especially high demand for larger-sized coats.
The drive will continue throughout the winter.
Hana Engroff wrote this story online.