This year's One Night Homeless Count puts the number of homeless on a given night in Eugene at 1,751. Eugene.gov estimates as high as 3,000. Although we have three wonderful shelters offering services in Eugene, still, 1,102 men, women and children will be without a roof on any given night here, in Lane County.
For the past week, the weather has consistently dipped below freezing, and right now the ground is covered in at least 6 inches of snow. This is a particularly dangerous time for people without home or shelter.
What Your Money Goes Toward
Dick's Sporting Goods offers woolen winter hunting socks for $15 and 20 degree Coleman mummy sleeping bags for $45 dollars each. $45 dollars for a bag that can keep someone safe from the cold, that might save someone's life. There are 3 months of winter and more to come next year. I am hoping that we can provide just the bare essentials. Just the bed that might keep our neighbors, if not warm, at least alive.
This campaign is not being run by any governmental program or larger non profit. Every penny spent will go directly toward gear to keep this community alive. This is an effort to allow people who want to help to join forces, to make it easy to give.
I am not sure how likely it is that we can raise enough money for 1,000 homeless men, women and children to sleep safely in Eugene, but I'd like to try to start with at least 250. If we could raise enough money for 250 bags and 250 pairs of socks to keep the extremities safe, we could take those to our three local shelters and seven emergency shelters to be distributed through the winter. Should we, against hope, rise past this goal, the extra money will go first toward additional sleeping bags and then toward socks and jackets.
I know that some of you looking at this page will be far from Eugene, but no matter where you are, these people need a little help, and this is the kind of effort that, if successful, can be repeated anywhere. Christmas will soon be over, but there are months of winter still to go. Please, in this season, let's think about the people who live so close to us, whose lives we can impact right now.