Sleeping Bags for Homeless
We started this campaign because of what I saw on December 8, 2016 about 10:30 p.m., after attending the opening night of "White Christmas" at the Ordway in downtown St. Paul. My friend Hayley dropped me off at my car, which was parked by the Juvenile and Family Justice Center.
It was freezing out!! 20 degrees! We were cold! As I was driving away, I saw a mound of a person laying on the ground in the sheltered area next to the sidewalk shown in the picture above. The person was covered with some type of material (blanket? tarp?).
I was just mortified that a person was going to be sleeping on the GROUND on such a frigid night!
That is just wrong!
That person just had to be so miserably cold. I felt so thankful that I was in my warm car and knew how thankful I would be when I walked into my warm home.
I am also thankful for Hayley who listened to me and brainstormed during the drive home when I called her to share my anguish!
So, Hayley and I started cooking something up!
I know we have the Dorothy Day Center not so far away and they provide services to people who are homeless. I am not professing to be an expert on homelessness. I know it is a complex multi-faceted problem. People shouldn't be sleeping outside during a bitterly cold Minnesota winter, but there is not enough room in shelters for everyone who needs a spot inside.
The reality is - people will still be sleeping outside in these freezing temperatures!
As part of our brainstorming last night - Hayley mentioned hand warmers. The next morning I was still thinking about that person on the cold ground and I came up with the idea of "below zero" sleeping bags!
So, we started this campaign to raise money to purchase sleeping bags rated for below zero temperatures, to pass out to homeless people sleeping outside in St. Paul. I found one on Amazon that goes from -22 to -41 for $79.99.
I don't know if it is a perfect idea - but it is an idea that I like and Hayley seems to like. We hope some of our friends will like this idea too. I am going to buy one or two sleeping bags (maybe Hayley will - I didn't ask her yet) and then Hayley and I are going to give them out to people actually sleeping outside at night.
We thought we would share this idea with friends, acquaintances and colleagues to see if anyone else may be interested in helping out during this freezing cold Minnesota winter season.
I created a wish list for the Amazon sleeping bag:
If you would like to help out, you could either purchase a sleeping bag or make a donation and we will purchase them! Hayley also had the idea of donations of warm scarves, hats, gloves and socks. We are happy to pick up any donations!
We figured we could buy a lot of sleeping bags if we raised as much money as possible which would help a LOT of people be a little warmer outside!
Any donation amount is appreciated and will be put to great use!! I have had someone ask if they could mail a check. Yes. Checks may be mailed to: Diane Dodd, P.O. Box 211351, Eagan, MN 55121,
Here are links to the various news reports on this campaign for more information! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments!
Thank you SO MUCH for sharing in this idea with us!!
Diane and Hayley.
We would love to be able to purchase below zero sleeping bags for the homeless again this year, particularly considering we now have tent cities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. As always, thank you for your support!
I get so excited about how wonderful this campaign is. I send congrats to Diane and Hayley for their vision. But I don't want the thanks and congrats to all the generous people who took the time and money to donate to be lost. What an awesome community of people we have around us, and every person on the right column of this campaign who took time out to get her and donate money deserves a giant thank you for caring about something so important!!!
Please check out Walking With A Purpose Minnesota on Facebook. We have been visiting the homeless camps around St Paul every week for over two years, with supplies. We can help you get items directiy to the chronic homeless, as we visit over a dozen camps and have contact with many of the "floppers", they're the people that carry everything they own and sleep in different outdoor areas every night! Keep up the good work and I hope to hear from you soon!
Good going. God Bless you and everyone for all you have done to help the homeless.
Thanks for the update. So proud to know you. Thanks for your compassion and hard work.
Congrats on the success with your campaign! I found out about you while looking for the best place to distribute the EMPWR Coats I have been raising money for (albeit less successfully than you). So far I've only raised enough money for 2 coats. I am going to pay for one more when I order them. Are you interested in receiving the coats to distribute them as you see the need? Any interest in sharing my campaign to buy more coats? Love what you are doing!
What an awesome idea! You should be very proud of yourselves. . .
Check out EmpowermentPlan.com and is on Facebook. They make coats/sleeping bags for the homeless.
What area do you guys serve? And do you need volunteers? I am available tomorrow to help possibly!
Did you happen to see the group of elderly ladies that are knitting sleeping mats for the homeless by using recycled plastic bags? I can't remember where I saw it, but I believe it was in MN. :) They first turn the plastic bag into a ball of "yarn" (they call it "plarn" - plastic yarn) and then knit a big yoga sized mat for someone to sleep on. :) I bet the efforts of both of your services make a difference, bless you guys! ♥