As days get chillier and we tug our zippers up just a bit higher this winter, many homeless people in downtown Atlanta face the brutal weather without a means to find warmth. Warming centers throughout the city begin to reach their capacity and can no longer supply the materials to provide warmth for these people, who are then left to deal with the situation on their own.
“How are you guys going to be turning people away when it’s under 20 degrees? People could die in this weather”
Though not sure where to begin, but positive that the situation must be helped, Zainab Khan, a student at Georgia State University, with the help and guidance of several of her friends and masajid such as Masjid Al-Furqan, began to reach out to others in the community to shed light on the situation and raise enough money to purchase the supplies that the warming centers lacked- sweatpants, socks, underwear, hand warmers and other hygiene products.
Driven by the increasing support and donations from organizations such as SHARE Atlanta, along with the knowledge that many people were still in desperate need of warmth, Zainab and her friends began to deliver the purchased supplies to the warming centers.
However, after speaking to several homeless individuals directly and finding out that they were not receiving the newly donated items, Zainab and her friends changed their method of delivery to one they felt was far more effective- simply handing out the items to the homeless directly to ensure that they were receiving relief as quickly as possible.
In addition to effectiveness, the group also felt that this system was far more rewarding, as they were able to interact with the homeless individuals, allowing them to connect and build relationships they felt they were not able to form by donating directly to the centers. As I spoke to Zainab, it was clear that she wanted to emphasize the situation these citizens are currently experiencing and the detrimental effects that the weather has taken on several families, from sickness, to the loss of family members. The process to help provide materials such as sleeping bags to these individuals is an ongoing effort and one can donate to the cause here: https://www.launchgood.com/project/sleepingbagsforthehomeless_1#!/