Originally posted on January 8, 2019
“At the end of a very long line one cold, January day, he waited patiently. Not ready to head back out into several feet of snow, he bypassed the racks of coats, piles of blankets, warm gloves and all variety of winter hats – beelining straight for the boots table, ticket in hand. The new boxes, stacked high and wide earlier in the day, were all gone or left behind, empty. We searched together for anything waterproof and warm in a size 11 or 12. Instinctively, I looked down at his water-stained pant hems and wet canvas shoes and prayed – apologizing to him and swearing to myself that, next year, I would do whatever I could to help bring more boots.”
Six years ago, this short paragraph on my personal Facebook page inspired acts of kindness and generosity from friends and strangers across Ohio. In fact, I often look back on this story as “the start of it all” and the reason Good Cause Creative and WISH Cleveland exist. That day, I learned how storytelling can change lives and inspire people to take action. A year later, I re-shared the story on social media and generous donors filled my van with warm, waterproof boots that I brought with me to the Homeless Stand Down. A promise kept.
Cleveland’s 29th annual Homeless Stand Down will take place on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 and is expected to provide more than 1,600 guests at the Cleveland Public Auditorium with access to social service providers, haircuts, medical screenings, winter clothing, breakfast and lunch, personal care kits, bus passes and more.
This time each year, as the temperatures begin to drop, I think of all the men, women, and children who don’t have a dependable pair of boots or a safe place to sleep at night. It takes hundreds of volunteers and thousands of dollars to create this unique day of meaningful connection and service. Below are a few, simple ways you can help.
Visit the HandsOn Northeast Ohio website to find out more about the Homeless Stand Down, volunteer (you must pre-register) or make a donation.
$50 pays for a pair of warm, waterproof boots.
$10 covers underwear and warm socks.
$5 means a bus pass home or to a doctor’s appointment.
You can also purchase items here from their Amazon WISH List.