For the second year in a row, the Farmers' Almanac is predicting a frigidly cold winter with plenty of snow. This week, as the daily low temperatures begin to dip below 40⁰ F, most people are bringing out their winter attire and spending more time indoors. But for homeless people, dealing with the cold isn't as simple as pulling a heavier coat out of the closet.
The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that hypothermia — the condition of having a dangerously low body temperature — can set in when a person has been in temperatures ranging from 32⁰ to 50⁰ F. Although A-SPAN's (Arlington Street People's Assistance Network's) newly opened Homeless Services Center in Courthouse offers a warm place for homeless people to sleep that's open year-round, during hypothermia season this simply isn't enough.
The Rosslyn BID has a longstanding commitment to supporting A-SPAN in collecting warm clothing for the homeless. Earlier this fall, as in years past, Rosslyn BID ambassadors collected 600 pounds of warm clothing for A-SPAN clients that was discarded by Marine Corps Marathon runners during the first part of the race. The Holiday Clothing Drive is another annual tradition that helps our homeless neighbors stay warm during the winter. We are collecting used (or new) coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, hats, gloves and jeans for A-SPAN clients.
A-SPAN's Leonard Chari says staff pass out the clothing to people on the street, or when they are visiting the day program and shelter. He says that all donations are welcome, for both men and women, but that sweatpants and hoodies are particularly appreciated. Socks are welcome, too, especially if they are white.
Between now and December 11, take a few minutes to go through your closet to see if you have any cold weather gear you no longer wear. You could help someone in need stay warm this winter.
Gift-wrapped donation boxes are located in the lobbies of several Rosslyn buildings:
You can also bring your donation to the Rosslyn Holiday Market Festival and Bonfire going on in Gateway Park December 10 and 11.