Ahead of winter months, sleeping bag, blanket drive is a success

Nov 14, 2020

Lisa Morales arrived at the Onset Pier to collect sleeping bag and blanket donations a few minutes before the drive she’d organized was meant to start on Saturday, Nov. 14. Despite her early arrival, she said there were already people waiting to drop off their donations. 

“I’m just really overcome that people are responding this way,” Morales said, surveying the ever-growing pile of donations. “And even just people who were out walking were willing to put some money in the jar for Turning Point.” 

The sleeping bag and blanket drive was organized to provide those in need with supplies to keep warm throughout the winter. Morales said she planned it after learning that the Nights of Hospitality program in Wareham — which offered overnight shelter for the homeless through the coldest months of the year — was canceled this year.

Morales said she tried to set the drive up so people could do a quick, no-contact drop-off of their donations.

A steady stream of people drove through the Onset Pier parking lot to add bags of blankets or sleeping bags to the donation pile. Some remarked that the drive gave them an opportunity to clean out their linen closets for a good cause, and others donated things that were brand new.

Morales had already amassed a large pile of blankets and sleeping bags by 1:30 p.m. She said her next step would be to launder everything before giving the supplies to the Wareham Coalition for the Homeless, which includes organizations like Turning Point and Seven Hills.

“If you give people an opportunity to give, they will give,” Morales said. “I wholeheartedly believe that. You just have to give the opportunity.”

Morales said she was grateful to everyone who donated, and added that she would like the Board of Selectmen to know that the community has a responsibility to care for the least fortunate. 

She also said she’d like the town to get everyone involved in organizations that help those in need — including the local clergy, Turning Point organizers, those at the YMCA, and Seven Hills organizers — in one room to find ways to address Wareham’s homelessness crisis. 

“We’ve got to come up with some better solutions,” Morales said. “We really can’t literally let people freeze on our doorsteps this year.”