'Share the Warmth' a Rockford benefit to provide the homeless community winter gear

Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 10:33 PM CST
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Every day people in the Rockford community roam the streets without proper winter gear.

"Something like a coat and boots can save someone’s life," said Carly Rice, Miss Carly’s.

“In terms of bedding and household items those are things that they are definitely lacking," said Sarah Parker-Scanlon, Shelter Care.

“It is critical that we provide the warm clothing because being out in the bitter weather that could be a health hazard," said Kay Larrick, Carpenter’s Place.

State Representative Maurice West partners with local organizations that help the homeless to collect winter gear.

"During this season I am thankful that I have sweaters and clothes that I don't wear anymore let’s give to people who need it," West said.

Six years ago West started "Share the Warmth" where more than 1,000 items were donated to Rockford area shelters.

"It feels great but at the same time it feels like we need to do more," West said.

Carly Rice from Miss Carly’s was Wednesday night's keynote speaker. She talked about how she takes care of the homeless.

"We are doing about 1,400 sack lunches a week and about 600 hot meals a week," Rice said.

Rice says her organization is relationship-driven.

"We can better discern what resources they need to be connected to and kind of hold their hand during the process," Rice said.

But Rice says she couldn't do her work without the help of other homeless shelters.

"What Carpenters Place, what Shelter Care does and what we do and how very similar and dissimilar. There isn't a lot of overlap there we all have the things we are good at doing, “Rice said.

"I'm not asking for blood, sweat, and tears. I'm just asking for a sweater you no longer wear because someone can use it," West said.

Carpenters Place, Miss Carly’s and Shelter Care are all accepting warm winter gear. You just need to stop by and drop it off.

If you are interested in volunteering at a homeless shelter you can call one of the local organizations.