MISSOULA — A local group says they can use more donations of blankets, hand warmers and other equipment to keep Missoula's homeless population warm. And David's Angels is looking forward to re-starting its in-person distribution day in January.
It's been nearly two years since volunteers with David's Angels have been able to hold a large, one-day distribution of clothing and other items to help Missoula's homeless and transient populations. In fact, this last handout happened just weeks before the pandemic lockdowns began.
But organizer Judy Sass says the group has been busier than ever.
"They were needing a tent because they were sleeping under the stars. So we would go find them and take them a sleeping bag and a piece of old carpet to put on the bottom. And then we'd have a lot of requests through the warmer months just for simple, everyday things." - organizer Judy Sass
Sass is seeing not only seeing more homeless but believes efforts to close some of the homeless campsites have made it harder to find and help individuals.
"There's a movement out there, a big movement, that maybe meets the needs of a large group. But if you're only one or two people where are you gonna go? You know. So we've been working a lot with individuals."
David's Angels will be conducting their annual handout at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Missoula on Jan. 21.
"We have a place that will take children's clothes that we can't use. But at our handouts we have more and more kids each time," Sass told MTN News.
Sass says the best way you can help right now is by giving them donations of warm clothing and other items to keep the homeless comfortable in the coming weeks.
"What we could really, really use are hand warmers. And we do have at Florence Ace a place to put them. And if a person doesn't want to go shopping, we happen to have a fundraiser online going on right now. And any funds from that are going to gloves and hand warmers and blankets."
Anyone who would like to help can call Judy at 406-550-1021 or ask to join the David's Angels group on Facebook. For Sass, this is a special winter, marking ten years since the death of her son, and honoring his memory by volunteering. And she always has open arms for others.
"But I have a core group right now that would do anything for me and I'd do anything for them. It is just a way to really get to know people. Know their values. Know if they're worth being a friend. There's just some wonderful people out there."