COLUMBIA — The eighth annual Warm Up Columbia clothing drive wrapped up on Oct. 22 with a new record under its belt.
Five thousand items including coats, hats and blankets were collected from August through October. This is a massive increase from the 3,500 items typically distributed, said Ron Schmidt, project director at the Voluntary Action Center.
He said the need has been strong in the past few years.
"For homeless people, it could be a lifesaver," Schmidt said. "When you sleep outside year-round, the cold winter is brutal, and unfortunately people die in the middle of the night when it's that cold."
The Voluntary Action Center invited local churches, families and individuals to help collect the winter clothes. Clothes were distributed to more than 700 people in Columbia.
"This year was such a banner year with the high number of donations," Schmidt said.
There were more donations this year because more people got involved. Many of them wanted to recycle their outgrown, old coats to someone in need.
"There are easy ways to help, you don't have to spend $500 to do this," Schmidt said. "A couple of coats goes a long way."
Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu