PORTLAND, Ore. — As temperatures start to get colder, nonprofits across Portland are calling on the community's help for donations of warm winter clothes that they can distribute to people who are struggling, many of them homeless.
Scott Kerman with Blanchet House said they serve 1,400 to 1,500 meals each day to clients that live on the streets. He said they really need donations of winter jackets that are in good condition. People can drop the jackets off at their location on Northwest Glisan Street, and people in need can pick coats up from there as well.
"I'm hoping maybe people got out into the community on Friday and Saturday and bought a lot of winter gear for their families over the holidays," Kerman said. "If you have jackets that are still in good condition, we can put them to use."
Chad Dietrich is a current client at Blanchet House, and he's had to sleep outside before in the winter.
"It's very uncomfortable," Dietrich said. "As far as the services Blanchet House does, they have provided me with coats, tarps, socks."
Over at Rose Haven, a day shelter and community center, they're in need of coats as well. Development Director Liz Starke said the 120 people they serve each day rely on the center for warm clothes. They'll take all coats but prefer new ones.
Rose Haven gives out the coats five days a week at their location on Northwest Glisan Street. Unfortunately, Starke said that the nonprofit is not getting as many donations as it usually would.
"Everyone is struggling right now," Starke said. "There's a reason why we are seeing a record number of folks living outside in their cars. The same is true for our donors as well — we all have to cut a little bit closer this year to make things work."
In Multnomah County, warming shelters don't open until temperatures hit 25 degrees, if an inch or more of snow is predicted or if overnight temperatures drop below freezing with rain.
Courtney Dodds with Union Gospel Mission said they want to make sure all their clients stay warm.
"All winter long we have a need for men's, women's and kids coats and warm clothing," Dodds said. "We give away a lot of those items."
It's also possible to support these and other local organizations by donating through 211info.
211info is a private, community-based nonprofit organization funded by state and municipal contracts, foundations, donations and community partners in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It serves Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties in Washington, as well as the entire of state of Oregon.
They are currently accepting winter gear donations, including: warm and waterproof adult items for outdoor sleeping, jackets (all sizes), hats, gloves, socks, tents, tarps, sleeping bags, hand and feet warmers, blankets, towels, men’s & women’s clothing, thick socks, new underwear, waterproof/resistant hats, gloves, boots, shoes, giftcards, and toiletries (deodorant, razors & shaving cream, shampoo & conditioner, toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthwash, soap & body wash). If people want to donate to Blanchet House, they can go to their website here.