In case you somehow haven’t noticed, it’s been cold outside! And it is going to be that way for a bit. As we enter the darkest, coldest and wettest months of the year, now is a good time to think about donating warm items (you know that coat that you never wear that’s just taking up space in your closet?) to people who need it.
Many of our local nonprofits dedicated to helping the unhoused community are looking for donations of tents, sleeping bags, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, socks and anything that will help keep people warm and dry during the winter season. So, whether you’re in need of warmth, or looking to donate, here are a few of the local places that can help.
As always, Betty and her staff are busy providing food, clothing and shelter to Humboldt’s homeless. With the recent drop in temperatures, the foundation has been gathering extra gear to help open up extra shelter for the winter. Chinn has already added 10 beds to the Blue Angel Village for the winter, and she is also working to open up a tent shelter for another 20 or 25 people.
Chinn said that the tent shelter is on someone’s private property (she did not want to disclose the location yet) and will hold tents with cots inside. The tents were donated to Chinn by Proper Wellness, a cannabis dispensary in Eureka and Rio Dell. Chinn said that when Proper Wellness first offered to help, she had no idea what type of business it was. When she learned it was a cannabis business, she was pretty surprised, but she is thankful for the generosity. She also received a bunch of sleeping bags from a private donor and received a bunch of cots – some from a private donor and some from Public Health.
As far as what she still needs, Chinn said that blankets would be the most helpful donation right now. Blankets can be new or used, but must be clean and in good condition. You can drop off donations at the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center during open hours – Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you need more information, or are in need of shelter, call the center at 707-407-3833.
[During] the winter time and holiday time people are very depressed,” Chinn told the Outpost over the phone on Tuesday. “This winter is so bad. So I’m going to open another shelter that people can go to.”
Arcata House recently wrapped up its official Cold Weather Care Drive, but the nonprofit is still accepting donations of new items. Florence Carroll, Arcata House’s administrative specialist, told the outpost that the organization can only accept new items right now because of its COVID protocols.
The nonprofit is currently accepting tarps, tents, sleeping bags, blankets, socks, scarves, mittens, hand warmers, rain ponchos, coats and sweaters. Arcata House is preparing for its extreme weather shelter, something the nonprofit opens during the chilliest nights of the year. Items donated will go to people in the shelter and also be handed out during Arcata House’s outreach to local homeless folks. You can schedule a donation by emailing email@example.com or by calling 707-822-4528.
Carroll added that, for those living outdoors who are in need of gear, Arcata House will be giving out the warm items it has already collected at The Annex – 501 9th St, next to the Arcata Transit Center – on
Saturday, Dec. 3. Wednesday, Dec. 7.
As another nonprofit organization that works closely with Humboldt’s unhoused population, HACHR knows how dire conditions can be for people living outside in the winter. That is why HACHR is holding its annual Anything Warm Drive to gather items that can be distributed to those who need it.
As during all its previous drives, HACHR really is looking for anything and everything warm, including hats, gloves, coats, socks, boots and other warm clothing. You can also donate items to help keep people dry, including raincoats, tents and tarps. HACHR will distribute the items to folks during its outreach trips.
Jasmine Guerra, executive director of HACHR, told the Outpost that HACHR is still working with local businesses and other nonprofit organizations to place donation boxes around the community. Currently there’s a donation bin at Outer Space in Arcata, but their hours are a bit sporadic. There will be more bins out by the end of next week, Guerra said, adding that HACHR will post updates about this on their social media.
In the meantime, if you can’t make it Outer Space, the best way to donate is to reach out to HACHR to coordinate a drop-off at the office in Valley West. Email admin@hachr707 to setup up a time to donate. You can also email if your business or nonprofit is interested in hosting a donation box. The donation drive will continue through February.
Donations must be new or lightly used, in good condition, clean and free of stains or odors. Guerra also wanted to add that if you’re not sure what to donate, socks and boots are very useful because it’s really important to help keep people’s feet dry and warm during the winter.
“I woke up this morning and had frost on my windows and I didn’t want to get out of bed because it was so cold,” Guerra told the Outpost on Tuesday. “So you can only imagine what it’s like for people living outside, out in the elements. Anything that helps people keep warm is so helpful.”
Another nonprofit that works tirelessly to feed, clothe and shelter the homeless, Eureka Rescue Mission, is nearly always willing to accept donations of clothing, blankets and other crucial gear for people who are struggling.
A member of the staff told the Outpost that the Mission is currently looking for blankets, socks and men’s clothing – including winter coats, sweatshirts, sweatpants, long underwear and shoes. The Mission does not require you to make an appointment to donate, and you can drop items off donations at 110 Second Street in Eureka anytime between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
If you call when you arrive, someone can usually come out and meet you to collect the items. Eureka Rescue Mission can be reached at 707-443-4551.
If you don’t have any clothing or gear to donate and don’t feel like buying anything, all of the mentioned nonprofits also enthusiastically accept monetary donations to help with their efforts. Here are the donation links: Betty Chinn, Arcata House Partnership, HACHR, Eureka Rescue Mission.
Also, all of these nonprofits are registered on Amazon Smile. That means that if you use Amazon to buy anything this holiday season, you can select any of these organizations as your charity and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchases to that organization. It may be small, but if you’re gonna shop on Amazon anyway, it couldn’t hurt!
CORRECTION: The Arcata House Partnership will be holding its pop-up at the Annex on Wednesday, Dec. 7 between 1 and 3 p.m., not Saturday. Please don’t go to the Annex on Saturday, because it will be closed! The Outpost regrets the error.