MADISON (WKOW)-- The extremely cold weather has been tough on a lot of people, but for those who are homeless the freezing temps pose an even greater challenge.
Earlier this week we told you about the overwhelming number of donations coming in to help the homeless in Madison. On Thursday night those donations were handed out to those in the community who need them the most.
The trucks rolled in and volunteers were quick to load them up.
"This is more than I've ever seen," volunteer Tami Schroeder of Friends of the State Street Family says. "This is one hundred times more than I've ever seen. This is amazing."
Thirteen palettes of donations came from the community and local businesses. On top of that were several SUVs filled with clothing donated by Walmart and $30,000 in Winter outerwear from Lands' End.
"We really were able to do a lot with a little and hopefully what we do tonight will mean a lot to people who really have a need," Lands' End Public Relations Director Michele Casper says.
For many volunteers the effort means so much more than simply handing out clothing and food. It's the message of caring that comes with every donation.
"Just tell them that we care and I think that's important that somebody cares about them and that they matter and I think that's kind of the message of tonight," Tim Metcalfe volunteer and co-owner of Metcalfe's Grocery Stores says.
After loading up the trucks, volunteers headed downtown and started handing out supplies to a waiting crowd of nearly 100 homeless. After handing out coats and clothing to that group, volunteers started walking up and down the streets looking for others who might need the help. They also stopped by all of the shelters in Madison.
For outreach groups like Project Babies, which helps hundreds of single mothers and their children, the donations couldn't have come at a better time.
"Especially now for Winter wear, 18 months and older and for young infants. We just did not have enough on our shelves to be able to answer the need. So this is an amazing help," Jeanne Erickson says.
Homeless advocates say that this donation drive is only the beginning. All of the connections they've made with local groups and businesses, they plan to expand on that and create even more outreach projects in the future.
For those who want to contribute money or donations,email the Friends of the State Street Family at visit email@example.com
Or find them on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ftssf/
Many other community groups are also accepting donations for the upcoming Winter season.
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