BOISE, Idaho — The Boise non-profit CATCH is asking for donations this winter to keep people experiencing homelessness warm and safe as the temperatures begin to drop.
Boise's homeless population is growing, according to Interfaith Sanctuary Executive Director Jodi Peterson-Stigers. This is a problem when her shelter, like others, has limited space. She said that she sometimes has to turn away as many as 20 people in need.
"It's a significant amount that are not able to be served by our shelter," Peterson-Stigers said. "So that's really hard for us and the demand is higher."
As a result, many people facing homelessness must prepare for the worst: sleeping outside in freezing temperatures.
"I do it every night," Frederick Hardt said. "You gotta dress properly. You gotta wear everything you got pretty much to stay warm."
Hardt has been homeless for five years. Without the proper winter gear, freezing to death is a real danger. However, getting ahold of this gear isn't an easy task for some.
Angel Summers and her boyfriend Jeffrey Jensen experienced this first-hand.
"St. Vincent de Paul has a program and I got a voucher. And we went to one of the stores and the shelves are just - there aren't coats to choose from," Summers said. "Until I find a coat, just layer up like I have been, wear as many long sleeve shirts as I can. Try to stay moving. Try to stay busy. Drink warm stuff. Do the best you can."
It’s for these exact reasons CATCH is making a push for donations. It's an annual effort, but this year's donations are down compared to the past years, according to CATCH Street Outreach Director Jette Curtis.
"The need is huge right now," Curtis said. "So, there's a little bit of urgency."
CATCH is asking for donations of the following items:
- Warm hats
- Outdoor coats
- Hand warmers
- Thermal underwear (long johns)
- Small propane bottles
- Gift cards to grocery stores and gas stations
Donations can be dropped off at the temporary CATCH office at Catholic Charities of Idaho at 7233 W Franklin Rd. Donations can also be dropped off at their downtown Boise office at 503 S. Americana Boulevard.
For questions or a request for pick-up donations, CATCH encourages people to contact Jette at firstname.lastname@example.org
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