Here’s another item for your storm-preparation to-do list: dropping off some donations to help your homeless neighbors get through the blizzard.
The National Weather Service said today that the storm due to hit the region Friday night will bring “potential life-threatening conditions.” And the people most at risk are those with nowhere to live.
The region’s emergency shelters are readying to open their doors to homeless people who need protection from the storm.
If you want to help these shelters out, consider making a donation before the snow starts falling. You can pick up a few extra items when you’re making that grocery run to stock up on your own snowstorm supplies.
In the District of Columbia, you can drop off warm clothing — coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves — at Central Union Mission at 65 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Cila Marrero, an employee at the shelter, said the shelter will give out the winter clothing to guests who might be spending some of the next very cold days outside. Central Union Mission could also use donations of toiletries and bottled water, Marrero said.
District residents can also drop off warm clothing, toiletries and non-perishable food at the Community for Creative Non-Violence shelter at 425 Second St. NW between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day but Sunday.
And Catholic Charities said that three of their shelters in the District are particularly in need of more blankets. Residents can donate blankets, as well as clothes and toiletries, at 801 East Men’s Shelter (2700 Martin Luther King Boulevard SE), Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter (1910 Massachusetts Avenue SE, Building 27) and New York Avenue Men’s Shelter (1355 New York Avenue NE).
In Maryland, the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless sent an email Wednesday afternoon saying it expects that at least 200 men will come to the main men’s emergency shelter in the county because of the storm. To support all those people, the organization said, it needs lots of items — milk, cereal, granola bars, bread, canned goods, frozen dishes, paperware, can openers, ice melt and more. The shelter is open 24 hours a day, so neighbors can drop off donations any time at 600A East Gude Dr. in Rockville.
And in Virginia, Scott Miller said the A-SPAN shelter in Arlington needs clothes so that its guests can leave dressed in warm layers. In addition to coats, sweaters, boots and similar items, Miller said the shelter could really use donations of new socks and underwear. He asked that donors consider including underwear and bras for homeless women, who are often overlooked.
At the Alexandria Community Shelter, Janine Rushing said the shelter staff is making plans for how it will operate if it loses power. The staff has flashlights on hand, she said, but needs donations of batteries to power them. The shelter also needs bottled water and hand sanitizer in case it loses water, and food that doesn’t require cooking in case staff can’t heat up meals, Rushing said.
Fairfax County will keep six emergency shelters open to anyone who needs a place to go. Residents can find the address of the shelter nearest to their homes online and can drop off items at any of the six, Dean Klein at the county’s Office to Prevent and End Homelessness said. In particular, Klein said, the shelters need more food and blankets to accommodate all the extra people who might stay the night.
Most importantly, keep these numbers in your phone. If you see anyone in need of help during the storm, call for assistance. Trained personnel will be waiting to bring people to shelter and to bring unsheltered people blankets and other vital supplies.
This post has been updated.