Church Under the Bridge hosts Winter Drive

Since Tuesday, Nov. 20, Church Under the Bridge has been hosting a winter drive to collect warm clothing items for members of the Greensboro community who are experiencing homelessness.

“A lot of people in the community don’t have warm clothes for the winter or much clothes at all,” said sophomore Fatima Hernandez, computer technology and information systems major. “We’re really trying to raise awareness, but at the same time, we’re at least making an impact on the people that we serve by providing basic necessities. It’s getting chilly and our hope is that everyone can have at least some warm clothes for the winter before we go on break.”

There are donation bins in various locations around campus to make it convenient to contribute.

“The biggest bins are in the lobby of Founders and King when you walk in,” said senior Alice Croom, environmental studies and political science double major. “While there are also smaller bins around residence halls, those are the ones we check more frequently. We’re not really looking for specifics and we’ve had people that have dropped off just regular clothing. We do prefer winter clothing though.”

When it comes to winter clothes, CUB is accepting gently used clothes of all sizes.

“We’re taking any warm winter clothes,” said CUB Co-Coordinator and junior philosophy major Fletcher Brooks. “So jackets, gloves, scarves, socks, anything like that.”

All donated clothes go to Church Under the Bridge, an organization which meets every Saturday at 201 Spring Garden St.

“Every Saturday we take leftover food from the cafeteria, box it up and prepare it and take it downtown along with any clothing donations or other projects that we’re working on at the time,” said Brooks. “We meet with a religious organization called 16 Cents Ministry, which is a group of congregations that started serving the population in Greensboro experiencing homelessness. A couple hundred people show up to the dinner service.”

16 Cents Ministries organizes these services and the Guilford College CUB members help volunteer.

“In addition to participating in handing out food and giving people food, we also have been bringing clothes along now that it’s cold,” said Croom.

While the church itself does a clothing drive, these members are hosting one on Guilford College to supplement it.

“The church does their own clothing drive, and it seems like they have enough clothes for everyone as they usually bring a truckful,” said Croom. “But when you watch everyone looking for clothes their size, it doesn’t always match. Or there might not be enough hoodies, and only a few will get them because they happen to be first in line. You can see that they are sad that they didn’t get the warmest of the clothing and you can tell that they don’t have any warm clothing.”

The clothes are handed out directly to meet the immediate need of the homeless population as the weather gets colder.

“We go there Saturday night and it’s already getting cold by six, which is around the time we get there, so we wanted to help supplement that initiative as much as we could and provide as many warm clothes as we could,” said Croom.

In addition to extending the length of the drive this year, CUB is looking forward to possible future initiatives.

“We decided that we’re collecting a lot longer this year than we did last year,” said Croom. We started the beginning of November and are planning to go until the end of January, so it’s a very long drive. Hopefully that yields more and I think our leaders, Maria (Marin) and Fletcher (Brooks), will definitely host a reflection period after we close to look back on what we can do better in the future and how effective it was. Then we can plan for future projects.”

Although the main goal of the Winter Drive is to collect warm clothing, CUB is also looking for personal hygiene items.

“At the same time, we’re also collecting things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, travel-size shampoo, conditioner and feminine hygiene products,” said Brooks.

Brooks hopes that the drive will have a positive impact on the Greensboro Community.

“Hopefully our impact will be short term alleviation of the dangers of living on the streets or not having consistent access to warmth,” said Brooks. “Also, we want to raise awareness about other issues and to find deeper, more long-term solutions. It’s one thing to do this every year, but it would be a great thing to not have to do it at all.”