As of January 2017, the average number of homeless people were 550,000 in a night living in the United States of America, including those living in shelters. (MDHI, 2017). We chose this topic because we want to shed a light on the problem of homelessness in the U.S, more specifically Boulder Colorado. Winters in Boulder Colorado can get very cold, with a low of 18 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a large population of homeless people that live on the streets in Boulder, and because winter is approaching fast, we want to help the homeless community stay warm throughout the long Winter season.
On November 12th through November 16th, our group will be putting on a Winter Clothing drive to collect as many winter clothing items as possible before the weather gets too cold. Since we are setting up our clothing drive in November, we are aware that this is during the Holiday season, which will make it more difficult to get the citizens’ of Boulder to donate their money and time. While most parents are busy buying holiday gifts for their children and finishing up work, we believe it will be easier and more impactful for them to donate the clothing items that they already own. For our Winter Clothing Drive, we will be accepting jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves, in donation boxes, the will set up around the Boulder area outside of the University of Colorado campus. The donation boxes that we will set up will be in association with the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (BSH), the First Presbyterian Church of Boulder (FPC), and the Pearl Street Mall (PSM). We hope to partner with these organizations because we believe they can provide us with the best-structured resources to make the biggest impact we can in the Boulder area.
In order to find out what is crucial for the homeless living in Boulder during the winter, we’ve created various survey questions designed to tell us exactly what they need most. For example, one of our survey questions is, What do you need the most for this upcoming winter season?, with the answers we’ll receive from this question, we will be able to find what items we should be focusing on to collect. We are also planning on comparing our collected data from the survey questions to the 2017 PIT Summary for Boulder County. In the PIT Summary, it shows age, gender, ethnicity and how long they have been homeless. Our survey questions will provide us with primary data and will relate to the PIT summary data making it easier to compare our data.
There are several devoted and experienced centers in Boulder that donate clothing to the homeless. The organizations such as those listed above continuously collect and distribute clothing. Since we do not have the resources to maintain a clothing drive for more than a week, we will turn in collected clothes to these seasoned non-profits for distribution. As for attracting support for our drive, we can compare our plans to other local clothing drives. According to the CU Coloradan, an alumni magazine, the CU Herd Organization hosts the annual Nearly Naked Mile. In this event, students strip down to undergarments and run across campus, while receiving clothing donations. In 2015, this yielded 1,540 articles of clothing (The Herd, 2015). The Herd uses their numbers and the draw of the theme of Nearly Naked to attract support for their cause. We will reach large numbers of people using various information distribution sources such as posters and Facebook. We will appeal to them using pathos and logos. We will speak to the citizens of Boulder of the plight of the homeless, and give them statistics like those collected from the homeless themselves.
We realize we can’t completely solve Boulder’s homeless current situation with our week-long clothing drive, but we hope to help provide warmer clothes for those sleeping on the streets and increase their holiday spirit and overall attitude. After we execute this project, the people living in Boulder will realize how performing small deeds for the community of homeless people can really change their living situation, their outlook on the rest of society, and their happiness. This project will hopefully change the perspective of some of the population in Boulder and how they give back to some of the less fortunate people living around the city.
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