On November 11 the 2017 Winter Warm Up is set to kick off in Wright Park, but all the warm fall weather we’ve been enjoying means donations of winter clothing for those in need are down. Thankfully, there’s still time to help!
This coming Saturday those needing winter clothing will be greeted by volunteers at Wright Park and given warm chicken soup, hot coffee, cocoa, and snacks to take with them. Then the shopping begins.
Community members are “given the opportunity to pick out their own gloves, hats, scarves, and coats,” event organizer Carmen Berens explained to Grit City Magazine. When donations are plentiful they also offer an entire outfit and shoes.
Unfortunately, this year those essentials may not be available.
“Our donations are down this year and I’m guessing it’s because we’ve been blessed with warmer weather longer than usual,” Carmen told us. “More often than not the extreme cold tends to prompt people to be generous. We are definitely hoping for a lot of last-minute donations. We are still in need of coats and men’s socks as well as various other items.”
In addition to a bit of food and clothing, each person is given a hygiene bag full of toiletries that are necessary to maintain proper health (razors, shampoo, tampons, toothbrushes, etc.).
“This is very much a grassroots organization,” Carmen, who lives locally and is the owner of Supa Entertainment told us. “Community members caring for community members like we are supposed to, hands-on. Tacoma’s hip-hop scene is very connected in a grassroots way to the city and this event started with the hip-hop community really wanting to give back.”
Though the Winter Warm Up crew hopes to give out hundreds of warm clothing items at the event on Saturday their work continues as long as it’s needed. Throughout the winter season volunteers go out nightly after 9:00 p.m. to pass out solar blankets, extra coats, and pillows.
This is a much-needed service, as according to Carmen “the homeless population has doubled, if not tripled in the city of Tacoma. It is an absolute epidemic at this point.”
Donations are welcome anytime, including the day of the event. Winter Warm Up will share any surplus items with local charities and shelters.
“The Winter Warm Up atmosphere is always one of positivity and love,” Carmen explained. “It feels good to help those who need it and everybody involved, whether they are coming for donations or leaving them, ends up with that personable connection we all desire. People need to know that others care about their well-being.”