Homeless meeting

Deacon Phil Harrington of St. Mary Catholic Church, right, listens to a question from a member of the local coalition to end homelessness during a planning meeting held last January in the Aspen Chapel Basement. Chief in the continuum of services for the local homeless population is the Aspen Homeless Shelter, which is currently seeking donations for a winter clothing drive.

 

The second annual Warm and Fuzzy Winter Clothing Drive benefiting the Aspen Homeless Shelter (AHS) kicked off last week and is running through Jan. 15.

Being that we are in the coldest months of the year through the end of January, the time is right. Homeless center development director Dasa Bausova said that the clothing drive results in the highest volume of winter gear the shelter takes in all year. The items, which started coming in last week, “are disappearing as fast as we can get them,” she said, meaning they are being used by homeless center clients.

Coats, sleeping bags, snow pants and boots are greatly in need for our homeless population and can be dropped off with staff at the Aspen Homeless Shelter Day Center located at 405 Castle Creek Rd., Room 107 in the Schultz Health and Human Services Building by the hospital. Please make sure you deal directly with homeless shelter staff who can be identified by the badges they are wearing.

The community’s overnight winter homeless shelter, run at St. Mary Catholic Church opens on Dec. 1 and runs through March. That means the local homeless population still has a few nights where the only option may be sleeping outside.

Bausova estimated that 25 percent of the center’s clients have some kind of vehicle they can sleep in. “The ones who don’t are sleeping outside,” she said. 

The annual coat drive is presented by Sun Dog Athletics, a local backcountry guiding and instruction service. For more information, please contact coordinator Erik Skarvan, at sundog@sopris.net or (970) 925-1069, or Bausova at aspensafetynet.orgaspensafetynet@gmail.com or (970) 315-2874. 

Please also donate online, by phone or mail in your gift to Aspen Homeless Shelter, 405 Castle Creek Rd., Ste. 12, Aspen, CO, 81611.

Last winter’s first annual Warm and Fuzzy Winter Coat Drive generated over 100 winter coats and 100 new pair of winter socks, along with a lot of other much needed winter clothing and new sleeping bags, according to a press release. The Aspen Homeless Shelter also gained about 20 new volunteers for their annual Christmas CARE Raiser Dinner for our homeless brothers and sisters.  

In addition to winter clothing, the homeless shelter is currently accepting donated turkeys it will use in the production of Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal that will be served at the day center.