United Way of Hampshire County and Cooley Dickinson Hospital Collaborate to Aid Area Shelters
Donations of clean clothing, outerwear, blankets and sleeping bags, and other winter-warming merchandise are sought
NORTHAMPTON—United Way of Hampshire County and Cooley Dickinson Hospital (CDH) are collaborating to assist area shelters in stocking up on much-needed items for winter as the weather turns cold and snow has fallen.
John Bidwell, executive director of United Way, and Joanne Marqusee, president and CEO of CDH, both stressed the greater needs faced by those who are homeless at this time when COVID-19 remains a threat.
They stressed that the donations are not luxury items yet materials needed to protect peoples’ health and safety.
Items should be new or gently used and clean, and delivered in a plastic or paper bag. The organizations specifically seek donations of:
- Warm shirts
- Outerwear such as coats, jackets, and parkas
- Foot and hand warmers
- Sleeping bags and blankets
- Quarters for drying cloths at a laundromat
- Large trash bags for use within the shelter
Items can be placed in a designated container at CDH’s North Entrance.
“With winter and ongoing economic challenges, we are very concerned with a rise in homelessness,” said Bidwell. “Because the cold is coming on quickly, and the region doesn’t seem to have enough shelter, it is important that we get basic supplies to those who are homeless. It goes beyond human decency. Making these gifts could be a matter of life and death.”
He added, “We are proud to work with CDH on collecting these donations.”
Marqusee said, “We know our health is—in part—determined by social and economic opportunities. This time of year presents many hazards for people who are less fortunate, specifically those who are homeless in our community. Factor in the COVID-19 pandemic—and decreased capacity at area shelters—and we realize just how vulnerable people are.”