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Posted on: November 13, 2020

Homeless Winter Gear Drive

Homeless Winter Wear Drive MFO II

Homeless Akron 2020

 Background

There is an increasing number of homeless in the local communities. Normally, this number fluctuates around 800 but is being driven upward by the economic impact of COVID-19. Today the number can be as high as 1000, and changes daily. Of this sub-population, there are 250-300 folks that are “outside.”  This means they live and sleep without a roof over their heads. Others find sanctuary in living rooms, hotels, shelters, and abandoned homes.

The Peter Maurin Center (www.petermaurincenter.org/welcome.html) serves this population.  Started in 2006 with the help of Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, the center serves meals 3X a week to those in need as well as supplying clothing to help those “outside”.  We normally provide a stopping place in the evening when it is 10 degrees or below to allow for survival and a warm bowl of soup.  We let up to 40 individuals sleep during these dangerous nights in comfort and safety.

While the situation may seem bleak at times for the homeless, it is about to get much worse. Due to the COVID-19 situation, many of the facilities, like Peter Maurin, cannot shelter anyone during the life-threatening low temperature nights. Given the demand for social distancing it is not possible. Where will these people go when the dangerously cold temperatures roll in?  It looks like they will be staying in their tents and viaducts.

It is hard to say exactly, but every year we lose a handful of people to the cold. Their frozen bodies are found in the morning or later in the week. We do not want that number to escalate. To that end, the city of Munroe Falls is beginning a cold weather gear drive to assist the Peter Maurin Center in providing items that will help the homeless stay alive through the night. We will run the campaign in a couple stages so as to maximize the participation rate of our citizens.

First, we will have a bin in the foyer of the Munroe Falls Police Department starting November 16, 2020 and running through January 15, 2020. 

Second, on December 5th, we will have a drop off event at Munroe Falls City Hall. Folks can simply drive up and handoff/drop off items. We will have the Knights of Columbus on site to receive the items and donations for the Peter Maurin Center. Timing will be from 10am to 2PM on the 5th. 

Third, monetary donation are always welcome at the Peter Maurin Center.  Simply send to:

P.O. Box 1105, Hudson, OH 44236

 The items we are looking for  in order of priority are below.  Money always helps and allows us to fill in the areas below where we are light in our coverage. 

  • Socks - Winterweight
  • Hats - Stocking Cap and/or Full Mask style
  • Long Underwear - Men's and Women's L, XL and XXL
  • Blankets
  • Hand / Feet Warmers (We could probably use 1500-2000 of these as fingers and toes are extremely vulnerable to frostbite.)
  • Sleeping Bags - 30 degree or better
  • Tents - 2 Person Coleman Sun-Dome type
  • Gloves
  • Tarps -  10' x 12' brown or camo
  • Money
  • One day Akron Bus pass

The Peter Maurin Center expects to begin distribution of items soon after Thanksgiving as that is when the weather turns ugly. Distribution efforts will continue throughout the winter.  The Peter Maurin Center is the focus for our distribution efforts as they have extensive knowledge and experience in this effort.

They are committed to significantly impacting the loss of life this winter and are asking for your help. Any donations made to the Peter Maurin Center go 100% to those in need. There is zero admin or overhead cost in this.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Mike Rauh, 330-256-3038.

Thank you

Observations from homeless camp visit 11/05/2020

Mike Rauh, Fr. Pete Colletti, Staff from Peter Maurin Center 

  • We yelled out who we were as approaching site and why we were there.  Do NOT surprise them or invade space suddenly.
  • Several came out to an area a little away from any of the shelters.  We did not meet inside their individual “area”
  • Once they understood we were there to help, they sent runners out to the other tents to let folks know we were there.  They showed a strong sense of community and wanted their friends to benefit.
  • They were particularly concerned with certain individuals who they knew needed what we were offering (sock, blankets).
  • One gal said she is the camp “mother” and looks after all the young ones (20-30 yrs old).
  • They all knew each other and watched out for each other, although the individual camp sites were quite distant and not concentrated.
  • They were very polite and gracious for the help.
  • None were heavy, none were emaciated.

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