As temperatures drop in North Central Florida, Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry advises the community not to drop donations downtown, but rather bring them to the shelters accepting donations.
Theresa Lowe, executive director of the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry said people will often bag winter clothing and put the bags in Bo Diddley Plaza to give them to the homeless who frequent the area.
She advises against this.
“What happens is folks will go through and take what they need and whatever is left there just becomes garbage,” she said.
Instead, she wants the community to donate through a homeless service provider society or another organization that will provide coats and blankets to people free of charge.
The coalition is accepting coats, jackets, scarves, blankets and anything else that can keep those who are either homeless or from low income families warm this winter.
“The rest of the week is pretty much in the fifties at night. That is pretty cold if you’re sleeping outside,” Lowe said.
Though the numbers won’t be in until January, Lowe believes there are more homeless people in Alachua County this year than previously. This makes demand for winter wear even higher.
She said the greatest need is for larger sized men’s clothing items.
“We have people who are very generous in our community, and we’ve had the entire porch filled up with coats and blankets from just one donation,” Lowe said.
Alachua County Coalition for Homeless and Hungry, at 703 NE 1st St. in Gainesville, accepts donations throughout the season.