A Cold Hard Winter

A+Cold+Hard+Winter

Alisa Zirbo, Reporter

David Conner, a 19-year-old college student spends his winters helping homeless people in Portland and Milwaukie. He and his 8 friends started an organization last winter devoted to helping homeless people stay warm in the winter. In 2021 the total number of homeless in Oregon is 15,876 people according to world population.com. “Portland’s unsheltered homeless population is on the rise as temperatures drop” according to pressharold.com. The reason this problem is so close to David’s heart is that he can sympathize. He used to be homeless. He knows what it feels like, how cold it can get, and he wants to help because he can. When asked why he started this organization he says “I’ve always seen how bad the homeless situation is in Milwaukie and Portland. During the winter it gets very cold and a lot of homeless people don’t have enough money to buy clothes or shoes to properly protect themselves from the cold.” So how does this organization work you might ask? They raise money, take clothes, scarves, socks, boots and drive around the Portland Metro-Area and pass them around along with food. He also says “We raised a lot more money this year with our fundraising, we just stopped taking donations and clothes and we are going to start passing them out this week.”

 He was asked if he thinks his group makes a difference. He responds with “Yes, I think so, the looks on their faces when they get the food and clothes shows how important it is.” He says there are 8 people in his group plus volunteers, they divide the clothes and bags of food and drive around passing it out. “We get around, if people want to help or join, just donate money or jackets and boots next winter, those are most needed. If you donate old clothes or boots they will be washed and sanitized.” At just 19 he and his friends are already making a difference. Homeless people are freezing to death. It’s a big issue and it’s happening all the time. Archive.thinkingprogress.org says “For example, even though hypothermia can set in when temperatures are as high as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, many cities don’t open the doors to their winter shelters until temperatures hit freezing or below.” This is why it’s so important for homeless people to stay warm during the winter.