My eyes opened to an agreeable chill this lovely December 1st morning. I snuggled in comfy, cotton bedding for a few minutes longer, reminiscent of the days when I lived in New Jersey. Those cold mornings were fight or flight while often getting ready to head out to a frosty car, or hop on a train and head into the wintry sidewalks of NYC, or even just the bitter, nipping winds, of the Jersey shore.
Still, I am grateful for the refreshing chill here in Central Florida because after our extended, hot, Smyrna summers, it is welcoming... I’d never go back to those subfreezing days again.
Turning on the heat to warm the house for a bit, I coaxed my dog, Sheena onto the bed for body heat keep and returned to my snuggle-fest for a little longer.
My morning meditations could not help but recall a conversation I had with a friend, Judy Reiker, days before. Being our city's vice mayor, she had a great concern for actions of compassion within our community. We asked each other, "how are we able to expand the ways in which we participate in helping others?" Her special concern that day was for those focused on in an interview by 60 minutes some nights before. She asked me, “Do you know that within our community, we have entire families living in cars and sending children to school and living life from those cars?”
While Sheena and I remained under our cozy, comforter, I thought about those families on this brisk morning…My first thought was of blankets... and then, if these families even had any dogs to keep them warm and safe... and if so, how they managed to feed them, too?
I decided to donate some blankets today… somewhere, anywhere, but next, as I went to the closet to grab a jacket to wear while walking my dog, that’s when it really hit me…I live in Florida and have an entire closet dedicated to coats! I thought it over on our walk and decided to empty that closet and begin this coat drive TODAY.
Let’s just face it, shall we? If we have people living in cars because they cannot afford to get into, or maintain a household, then money to purchase coats, blankets, and winter wear must be just as scarce and in many times, non existent. For the next few months, when we reach the occasional, near or freezing temperatures, many of these people can barely afford to put food on the dashboards. I am sure winter wear will come in very handy.
I figured that while participating in the Second Harvest food drive this month, I would also seal the deal by beginning a drive for winter items for needier people; coats, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, (even mismatched) and blankets of all shapes and sizes will be very useful and appreciated. The items won’t be sold, but instead, will be donated by our community, to our community, for anyone who shows need and would like to be warm. By the way, the showing need part is simple. (If someone says they need a coat, they get a coat.)
So, break out the boxes and clean out the closets, I’ll be by to pick up weekly, through the end of December. After that, a drop off will be appointed.
See you soon,
Feel free to inquire about Volunteering.
Elizabeth Sullivan (Fellow humanitarian:)) firstname.lastname@example.org