When winter hits the country, with freezing rain, snow, ice and below zero temps, most Americans are at home snuggled up by a fire or in a heated home. It can be difficult to venture out into the snow and ice when required - but most people have a warm place to return.
Not the homeless. They are the hundreds of thousand people who live on the streets in every city, town and suburb in the U.S. In New York alone the numbers have been estimated: Each night as many as 60,000 people -- including more than 22,000 children -- experience homelessness.
Measured annually - more than 111,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 40,000 children, sleep in New York's shelters.
The total number of people in New York that are homeless, as of September 2013 is 52,351. Numbers get higher in warmer places like Los Angeles County - their numbers are closer to the 250,000 mark - of men, women and children who experience homelessness at some point in the year.
That is a lot of homeless people - but who keeps them warm? There are organizations that help - such as "One Warm Coat."
One Warm Coat and organizations like them help the estimated 671,850 Americans that experience homelessness on any given night, in our country. They organize coat drives, blanket drives, and more.
From their website: Health experts report that even a 2-degree drop in body temperature results in reduced heart rate, loss of coordination, and confusion. Adults cannot work effectively and children find it difficult to learn. For most, a warm coat solves the problem. But, for the now nearly 15% of Americans living in poverty, a warm winter coat is a budget “extra.”
One Warm Coat helps other organizations organize drives in an effort to gather enough coats to help the homeless through winter.
Other groups, such as The Empowerment Plan is not just helping the homeless get warm coats for the frigid winters, but is also employing them, enabling them to earn incomes and restart their lives.
Their mission" We're a Detroit-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the homeless community. We hire homeless women from local shelters to become full time seamstresses. These women manufacture a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag, which is then given out to homeless individuals living on the streets at no cost to them.
We believe in giving second chances to those who want it, and providing warmth to those who need it.
Why not find a local organization or group that is dedicated to helping the homeless stay warm this winter - and give. Give your coats, sweaters, blankets, donations or your time. This is a time when our country needs to care about those who cannot even stay warm.
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