In 2014, staff from the Community West Foundation toured some of the encampments around Cleveland and sat down to talk to those who live outside. Nearly every one they talked to said that they needed warm socks and boots. The outreach workers also agree that boots and socks are in short supply for most of the year. Health care clinics are regularly dealing with foot issues because of all the walking done by homeless people. The Community West Foundation staff caucused and decided to focus some funding on what they are calling the "Socks Plus" campaign to raise support for socks and boots for homeless people who spend a great deal of time outdoors.
NEOCH is gathering quality socks and boots along with other winter items to distribute to as many people as possible over the next few weeks. Community West staff, Peter Schindler, attended the homeless Stand Down and then came to the Metanoia Project to see the first distribution of the Socks Plus campaign. NEOCH outreach worker, Denise Toth, gave away thermal winter socks and thermal hoodies on Saturday evening to everyone at the Metanoia Project. We are gathering backpacks now that the Stand Down is over to give out to homeless people who are reluctant to go to shelter. These backpacks will be full of thermal tops, handwarmers, gloves, boots and the thermal socks. We will continue the distribution through the spring and may add rain ponchos or other items to keep people dry.
The Second District Police also gave away items this weekend that they collected including new underwear and new socks at Metanoia. We want to keep people warm and dry this winter. We do not want to see people losing limbs or dying because of the cold in Cleveland. Our primary goal while working with homeless people is to keep them safe. The most dangerous time for hypothermia is the spring when it is hard to keep dry. The lower temperatures and the rain is a killer for homeless people. Thanks to the Community West staff and all those who donate to the Socks Plus campaign. We will keep the community updated about the distribution of these critical items as part of the Socks Plus campaign.
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