University drives to bring warmth

As the winter season draws closer, the need for charities and community organizations to provide shelter to Houston’s homeless becomes even greater.

This month UH Staff Council is sponsoring its annual Sock and Blanket Drive to help with the added strain the weather conditions put on homeless men, women and children.

All donations from the drive – which began Nov. 12 and ends Friday – will benefit the Star of Hope and the Harris County Protective Services Guardianship Program who will give the items to less fortunate Houstonians as holiday presents.

Houstonians will need more than just socks and blankets to get through this winter season Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to bring underwear, towels, sheets, coats, sweaters, baby formula, warm children’s and babies’ clothing and professional attire for distribution.

Since 1907, the Star of Hope has provided food, clothing and shelter to men, women and children through street distributions, transitional living centers and emergency shelters. The Houston-based organization contributes to the lives of more than 7,000 each year, according to the Star of Hope Web site.

Harris County Protective Services Guardianship Program – the legal guardian for about 1,300 adults from ages 18 to 105 years old – seeks donations year round for items to help achieve their goal to aid the needy. The program is in need of adult diapers, comforters and unisex clothing for all body types.

According to Gloria Smith, a Women’s Resource Center secretary, this year marks the Women’s Resource Center’s fourth year participating in the drive.

"It’s a privilege to be able to help in a small way," Smith said.

"This year we’ve already collected two really big boxes. There’s been quite a bit of socks, throw blankets and clothing."

New items needed for the collection range from batteries and heaters to telephones with large numbers. Items that will be accepted in clean and gently used condition include kitchenware, furniture and tote bags.

The drive will also accept over-the-counter medications as well as toiletries and general house cleaning products.

Drop off locations include the Welcome Center, the Architecture Building, the University Center Satellite, the Health Center and Oberholtzer Hall along with 12 other campus locations.

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