The coldest I’ve ever been was when I spent 30 minutes looking for mint chocolate chip ice cream at the Whole Foods in Venice Beach, only to realize my only options were soy-based and blasphemous. While our teeth chatter in the frozen aisle or during short commutes from door, to car, to door, thousands of people living in poverty endure winters with very little protection from the harsh elements.
“I love winter!” a friend once told me, “Because I love wearing winter clothes!” While winter offers the fashion-friendly a whole new way to express themselves, we often take our favorite cold-weather accessories for granted. Not about that life? Donate some of the items below.
9 out of 10 hipsters wear scarves in the summertime. What used to be a winter necessity has become a year-round accessory, and while I’m guilty of the sunny day scarf as well, we often forget what an important role they play in keeping people’s entire bodies warm during the wintertime. Forget about fashion for a sec and think about the people in your community who would love an extra barrier from the cold. If you want to donate an extra scarf that’s in great condition but you’ll never wear, check out Heartfelt Scarves for One Warm Coat.
While most of us complain that our gloves make it hard to text on the go, frostbite happens to a lot of homeless people. This winter, when your pesky gloves get in the way of liking your BFFs latest Instagram, think about someone who really needs them. Donate a pair to Hats & Mittens and you’ll be helping underserved children in Minnesota.
I wear beanies on bad hair days. I wear wide-brimmed hats when I feel like attracting male hipster attention. I wear baseball caps to protect my face from the sun on long hikes. Here in Southern California, we very rarely wear hats to keep ourselves warm, but in many parts of the country (and even on cold Los Angeles nights) they’re a necessity. The International Rescue Committee is looking for hats for their its clients in Idaho! It’s a cold winter out there and most clients from IRC hail from warm climates and have very few possessions.
Far too many homeless people sit and sleep barefoot during the coldest parts of the night, while our toes are tingling cold even inside of our winter boots. While shoes are important, what’s a pair of shoes without warm socks to go with it? Donate a pair to Hannah’s Socks and help people in homeless and domestic violence shelters in Ohio, Michigan or Kentucky. Want to get your friends or fam involved? Organize a sock drive for the org.
Fact: People living in poverty need jackets. Real jackets, not that vintage jean one you got at that overpriced secondhand store. If you have an extra coat, consider donating it to One Warm Coat. Nearly 4 million coats have been collected and distributed through One Warm Coat since 1992! Yup, before many of us were even born!
According to National Coalition for the Homeless, “In 2011, the official poverty rate was 15.0%. There were 46.2 million people in poverty.” So please scour your closet for gently used coats, socks, hats, gloves and scarves. For many of us, winter is a time to layer and accessorize, but for too many homeless Americans, it’s a struggle to stay warm.
One Warm Coat
Donate your coat to people in need.
Give new socks to homeless and domestic violence shelters.