The frigid temperatures and relentless ice, sleet and snow blanketing New York City are merely an inconvenience for most of us, but can be deadly for our homeless neighbors. At least one homeless New Yorker already froze to death last month. Here are some ways you can help those struggling to survive on our streets:
1. SUPPORT THE GRAND CENTRAL FOOD PROGRAM. The GCFP is the city’s largest nightly mobile soup kitchen, and delivers hot food, coats, hats, blankets and other emergency items to more than 1,000 homeless men, women and children on the streets of the city every single night of the year. We rely on donations from New Yorkers like you to keep the program going. Please help if you can.
2. HOST A COAT DRIVE. The Coalition immediately needs large men’s coats (new or gently used), especially XL, XXL and XXXL.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to set up a drive at your place of work.
3. DON’T WALK AWAY. If you see someone who appears to be in danger from the cold, here’s what to do:
• If you’re comfortable doing so, ask that person if he or she needs help. You can print out and offer one of the Coalition’s downloadable Resource List or a Crisis Card, or simply use our Online Resource Guide to find the closest service.
• If you are not comfortable engaging the person, call 311 to let the City know that there is a homeless person who appears to need services, and they will send an outreach team.
• If the person seems to require medical attention, call 911 immediately.
If we all look out for each other during this dangerously cold weather, we can save lives.
Remember, the smallest act of kindness can often mean the difference between life and death for a homeless person in need.