Sunday, November 13, 2016

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week (November 12-20, 2016)


My father taught my brothers and I the act of helping others and paying it forward at an early age. When he got laid off in the winter months of 2004, he decided to start a charity that helped the homeless during the winter months. As he was driving home, he passed people living on the streets and knew he had to do something about that;he had to make a difference.  When he got home, he asked my second older brother if he wanted to help him with making a change and making a difference, and he quickly said "Yes".My dad then asked me and my other two brothers and we also quickly said "Yes". My dad and (second) older brother came up with the name ; "Operation Warmth". 

Our first year was December 2005, the Saturday morning before Christmas. We collect winter clothing and items throughout the year. We go downtown with all of the donations and set up all of the banana boxes full of clothing on the sidewalk and items and the homeless come and get what they need. You might think they would be pushing each other and grabbing everything that they could hold, but no they are really polite and pretty much stand in a line. Every year,we collect between 300-500 (depend on the year) banana boxes full of donations plus many blankets, pillows, bottles of water, and more. One year we had the local elementary school make Christmas cards for the homeless, we made ornaments out of paper, we provided them with candy canes, sandwiches and also one year we let the homeless decorate their own sugar cookie. 

How did we get all of these donations?  We let our friends and family know on Facebook where to drop off their donations, we post about the charity on online garage sales groups, we make boxes and place them around the community (at schools,businesses, churches,etc.). We also go to garage sales throughout the summer and purchase items that way as well.

It is sad that homelessness and hunger is a big problem in the world today. Nobody should be homeless or not able to have some food.  Nobody knows what someone is going through or why they are on the streets. We all need to spread kindness because that is what we would want if we were in their shoes.

<3 Amanda 

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