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Warming up the New Year for area homeless

The St. Louis homeless population started their New Year a little warmer than expected when The Salvation Army dispersed an arsenal of winter-wear Jan. 1.

Equipped with more than 1,000 winter hats, gloves, and scarves, a team of volunteers sought out area homeless in the downtown area, as well as several shelters.

“We were able to reach quite a few people who will greatly benefit from these items,” said Tony DiStefano, director of Emergency Disaster Services. “Everyone seemed genuinely thankful for our help. There were two ladies who even cried because they were just so grateful. Knowing you positively affect someone with such a simple gesture makes the work The Salvation Army does even more rewarding.”

The temperature hovered around a bone-chilling 23 degrees, making blankets a popular item.

“We did a few mass distributions outside of homeless shelters,” DiStefano said. “There were so many people waiting and shivering in the cold just for them to open.”

In addition to winter attire, the team also distributed fruit, snacks, hot chocolate, coffee, and water.

DiStefano said he plans to coordinate another effort when the donations and financial means become available. DiStefano and volunteers distributed the following:

Blankets: 173

Winter Hats: 247

Winter Gloves: 214

Cups of coffee: 246

Cups of hot chocolate: 231

Granola bars: 164

Packages of cookies: 37

Bottles of water: 27

Salvation Army Bibles: 18

For more information about how to give warm clothing donations, please visit our donation page.

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