After the holiday season ends and the new year begins, sometimes resolutions aren’t enough to keep people in the giving spirit.
Omnicom Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society at St. Thomas, took steps to change that with a blanket drive for the Simpson Housing Services homeless shelter located in Minneapolis Wednesday.
Christina Giese, head of volunteer services at Simpson Housing Services, said the shelter doesn’t see as much charity during the spring months, so she’s excited that ODK decided to give now, instead of during the Christmas season.
Previous blanket donations are stored away in the Simpson House's women's shelter. The blankets make a guest's stay more comfortable, and additional ones are given to people who have been turned away. (Kayla Bengtson/TommieMedia)
“People aren’t thinking about homelessness as much when the weather is nice,” Giese said. “They’re not maybe feeling as generous as they would maybe during the holidays.”
ODK’s Senior Service Chair Shannon Carleton said another benefit to this project was being able to help people directly in the Twin Cities area.
Carleton said the society had previously held book drives, but this didn’t allow students to see direct results.
“We also run ‘Books for Africa,’ but we can’t really see as much of an impact as we could if we were to just collect blankets and give them to Simpson Housing,” Carleton said.
Sophomore David Zosel said a blanket drive for the homeless is a good way to help those in need.
“Homelessness is not just a big issue here in the U.S., it is a huge issue all over the world,” Zosel said. “To make a difference in such a issue, we as people should first act locally.”
The shelter hosts 66 people a night and allows both men and women. Giese said blanket drives are a helpful way to give back to the Simpson House, especially since the shelter lacks the funds to buy its own.
“We don’t have money to purchase things like blankets, so if we don’t have extra blankets, we don’t have extra blankets,” Giese said. “But when donation drives or blanket drives come in, those are things that we can give to people when we turn them away.”
Freshman Mackenzie Watson said she would participate in the drive.
“It’s a great way to reach out to the community and meet other Tommies with similar interests,” Watson said.
However, Watson said she noticed that St. Thomas hasn’t been offering many opportunities to give back.
“I, personally, haven’t seen as many domestic and local service opportunities on campus,” Watson said.
Carleton said she’s trying to come up with more opportunities for students to get involved.
“We want something different, we want it to be more noticeable on campus,” Carleton said.
Carleton said that giving up a blanket is an easy thing for any student to do.
“I like being bundled up, but hey, I sleep with less than four blankets,” Carleton said. “I can give one to somebody who actually needs a blanket.”
Kayla Bengtson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.