FITCHBURG — Community Health Connections and the Fitchburg Police Department’s mission is to help keep the homeless and in-need community members warm this winter and is seeking help from the community.
Boots, coats, and cold weather essentials such as socks, gloves and hats will be collected from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the ACTION Community Health Center, located at 130 Water St. (Central Plaza).
“Please consider donating and dropping off clean, gently used or new, boots, coats, hats, gloves, and socks,” said Zuly Fernandez, health center site manager, Community Health Connections ACTION Health Center.
The drop off location will be at the back of the building, where volunteers, staff and members of the police department will be collecting items.
Fernandez says she knows that the community enjoys coming together to provide these items for the homeless population and where there is a need.
“We are facing hard times but there are folks who are dealing with much more,” Fernandez said. “Homeless folks living under bridges, on the streets with no housing options it’s sad. If all we do is provide a warm coat and warm winter wear from out of our closets or an affordable store it does not cause a huge impact for us but it’s a huge item for them to try and stay warm during these brutal winter months.”
Lt. Jeffrey Howe, Community Engagement Unit Commander, of the Fitchburg Police Department, believes that this event is another opportunity to interact with the community.
“It gives us a chance to learn about new resources available in our area to help those in need and also allows some of our most at-risk community members to experience a positive interaction with a police officer,” Howe said. “They meet us as a person not just as someone wearing a uniform, we want them to trust us and be comfortable talking with us when they need help. The last thing we want to see is someone hesitating to come forward when help is needed.”
Howe believes that change starts at the local level and “we at the Fitchburg Police Department work hard to show compassion and empathy.”
“We truly care about the people we serve, and this clothing drive is one of many things we do as part of community engagement activities each year,” he said. “We hope the small things we do on a local level will empower others to do more for the common good of society.”
For more information, email Zuly Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.