So what do owls and gloves for Wichita’s homeless have in common? Ken Lockwood.
Lockwood, who operates Eagle Valley Raptor Center and the Advocates to End Chronic Homelessness (AECH) are hoping Wichita gives a hoot for those who find themselves homeless by donating gloves. The gloves collection idea came to Lockwood after helping a homeless veteran this year and learning more about what homeless shelters need to serve the population. He’s calling it Hootin’ for Hands and a drop off has been arranged at Mel Hambelton Ford, 11771 W. Kellogg, and they were very willing to be a drop off site for this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The owls I care for every day have feathers to keep them warm, and I knew we couldn’t give those who are homeless feathers, but we can give them gloves to help protect their hands from the bitter winter cold,” said Lockwood.
The goal is to fill up the back of a Ford F-150 pickup with warm winter gloves. AECH is hoping to collect 600 pairs of gloves to distribute through their booth at the Point in Time Count Jan. 25. The request is for sturdy winter gloves, sizes large and extra large. Lockwood will have Eagle Valley’s Spectacled Owl, Avatar, on hand this Saturday for people to meet during the drop off event at Mel Hambelton.
The Point in Time Count is coordinated by the United Way of the Plains and will be at Century II this year. Volunteers for this event are needed, with sign up through tomorrow at 5 p.m. This is the second year the count has been done in cooperation with about 30 organizations serving the homeless population in order to get them connected to services and resources they may need.
“While there has been a count of the homeless population since 1996, this is the second year to do this type of citywide event.” said Delane Butler, vice president of marketing for United Way of the Plains. “Last year we had about 30 booths representing organizations providing services and resources to people who are homeless.”
Butler encourages those interested in donating items for homeless organizations to distribute to contact a specific organiztion to find out what their needs are and then drop off items prior to the event. A list of organizations can be found on the United Way of the Plains web site.
The count is required by HUD every other year for grant applications, but Wichita has chosen to do the count every year to provide organizations with trending information which helps them with fund raising and in-kind items needed to serve the homeless population.