WUSTL helps homeless St. Louisans

A month ago, WUSTL’s Community Service Office, in partnership with St. Louis Emergency Winter Outreach, asked for winter wear donations to help the homeless. Thanks to the generosity of the WUSTL community, more than 200 coats and many other winter items already have been distributed to St. Louisans in need.

“We have been overwhelmed with the amount of donations received from the Washington University community for the St. Louis Emergency Winter Outreach Team,” says LuAnn Oros, community consultant on hunger and homelessness in the Community Service Office.

The collected coats were donated to the outreach team and also to women’s and children’s shelters.

When temperatures drops below 21 degrees, outreach volunteers drive around the city looking for those at risk and offer blankets, coats – or transportation for those willing to go to a shelter. This year, six emergency shelters in the downtown St. Louis area are available. Once at the shelter, people are given something warm to eat and drink and also dry outerwear if needed.

“Now that the cold weather has arrived in St. Louis, the teams are going out several times each week making certain that homeless individuals have what they need to keep warm in case there are not enough shelter beds available,” Oros says. “The need for these items will continue throughout the next several months.”

Stephanie Kurtzman, director of the Community Service Office and associate director of the Gephardt Institute for Public Service, says WUSTL members still can bring donations to Danforth University Center, Room 250. Clothing items should be new or gently used.

Needed items:

  • gloves
  • adult socks
  • hats
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • individually packaged sweet and salty snacks

For those who would like to volunteer or for more information, contact Oros at luann.oros@wustl.edu; (314) 238-4056.