116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Willis Dady Homeless Services has shared its annual Holiday Giving Opportunities to invite families, individuals and corporations to support those experiencing homelessness this winter.
To give back this holiday season, Willis Dady offers challenges and gifting opportunities for people, families, congregations, companies or clubs.
Willis Dady started the Backpack Challenge during winter 2020. The organization is looking to receive and distribute 200 stuffed backpacks for its clients for the 2022 holiday season.
Currently, there are more than 100 people sleeping outside in the community, according to Willis Dady reports.
“These critical supplies will help them stay safe, healthy and warm as the temperatures begin to drop,” according to a news release.
To participate in this challenge, people should find a sturdy backpack and stuff it with the following items that Willis Dady clients need:
- A folder to organize important documents
- A small blanket that can fit back in the bag
- A toiletry kit including wet wipes, razors, fingernail clippers and a comb or brush
- Non-perishable foods and snacks
- New pairs of socks
- Hand and foot warmers
- A winter hat
- A pair of warm winter gloves or mittens
Additional items may be donated and brought outside of the finished backpack. This will help Willis Dady ensure clients receive similar stuffed backpacks.
These donations should be brought to the main shelter at 1247 Fourth Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids by Dec. 19, in time for clients to open the gifts and celebrate the winter holiday season.
Willis Dady’s emergency shelter has 25 beds for single men, 10 beds for veterans, four family units and 10 beds for women experiencing homelessness.
With this giving opportunity, clients staying at this shelter receive gifts of new clothing over the holidays, according to the news release. The clothes are given wrapped to Willis Dady clients.
The most common sizes Willis Dady needs are Medium, Large, X-Large and XX-Large.
To participate, people may purchase any of the following items and bring them to the main shelter by Dec. 19:
- Packs of T-shirts
- Packs of socks
- Packs of underwear
- Long-sleeve shirts
For those who are able to wrap their clothing gifts, Willis Dady asks that each item be wrapped individually and labeled on the outside with what the gift is and the size.
If you are unable to wrap the gift, Willis Dady will ensure the gifts are wrapped before they are given to clients. Those items should still be dropped off at the main shelter by Dec. 19.
This giving opportunity is for supplies that Willis Dady regularly uses at the shelter to provide support to clients and keep facilities clean for clients, staff and visiting community members.
Individuals may bring the following items to the main shelter throughout the holiday season to meet this need:
- Dish soap
- Laundry soap/pods
- Trash bags (13 gallon and 55 gallon)
- Toilet paper
- All-purpose cleaner
People also may make an impact without donating goods at the shelter with a financial gift.
Willis Dady offers a secure online donation system on its website at willisdady.org/donate. People also may mail any cash or check donations to the main shelter at 1247 Fourth Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids.
Financial support provides services, including shelter, homeless prevention, employment, street outreach, housing and veterans to individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Linn County.
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