Winter Warmth – A Day of Dignity

On Sunday, December 2, generous donations from nearly a dozen local churches and synagogues and a team of volunteers transformed WHC’s Irwin & Ginny Edlavitch Hall into Winter Warmth, a “pop-up shop” for individuals who struggle with homelessness.

Close to 250 men, women, and children came to this annual event organized by Friendship Place, a nonprofit organization that serves more than 3,600 people each year who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Friendship Place’s innovative, customized, person-focused programs empower participants to rebuild their lives, find homes, get jobs and reconnect with friends, family and the community, permanently.

“There are a lot of false impressions about the homeless, and this event helps put a real face on it,” Lynn Sachs, one of Winter Warmth’s lead organizers, explained in an interview with WUSA9’s Mikea Turner.

At Winter Warmth, participants could select sweaters, pants, a coat, long underwear, winter boots, socks, a hat, gloves, and a scarf from merchandized displays that made Edlavitch Hall resemble a retail boutique. While there, they also enjoyed a warm meal and a free haircut and could speak with Friendship Place staff about the services the organization offers.

“We create a really nice atmosphere,” said Sachs. “We have volunteers of all ages, including high school kids, which is really terrific.”

This was WHC’s third year participating in this meaningful event, thanks to generous support from the TOV Fund.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all the volunteers who helped to sort and organize donations in the days before the Winter Warmth as well as those who assisted the participants on the day of the event.

You can see additional photos from this year’s Winter Warmth event here.

Photo credit: Friendship Place