A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Crossroads Church Florence collecting blankets for the homeless through January 24; drop-off at church

By Maridith Yahl
NKyTribune reporter

Providing a blanket to a homeless person can mean so much. Not only will it help warm them, but it also lets them know someone cares. Crossroads Church Florence is looking for new and gently loved blankets to hand out to homeless people and shelters in Northern Kentucky.

It all started at a gas station where a young man was digging through a garbage can as Lori Dunsing and her husband were filling up. He was shivering. Dunsing says she has always kept blankets in her car during winter, so her husband asked for one.

“He wrapped the blanket around him, and the young man just started talking to us, how he had been to different homeless shelters, that he was cold, and he was hungry,” says Dunsing, Reach Out Site Director, Crossroads Church Florence.

This encounter brought a realization to Dunsing, that there are so many more people in our community that do not have a place to get warm. She says when we get cold, we grab a coat, go into our house, or even warm up in our car.

“A lot of people have no shelter. The blankets are to at least give them some kind of barrier from the cold,” she says.

The blankets have been coming in so fast Dunsing has not been able to count them all yet. She began laying them over every chair in the Chapel. After 220 she had to stop but still has many more bags and boxes to go through.

“It’s amazing how generous our city, our community, our Northern Kentucky neighbors are when it comes to helping people,” says Dunsing.

One couple from Ohio brought a box and four bags full of blankets, Dunsing says. They do not attend any of the Crossroads locations but wanted to give.

“We just wanted to bring blankets. We are so excited about what you’re doing,” they told Dunsing.

Crossroads is looking for new or gently loved blankets. Some have even bought blankets online and had them shipped there. Dunsing has received some of the tied flannel-material blankets. She loves those because she knows they were made with love.

What began as, a clean out your closet and donate unneeded blankets campaign, has blossomed into so much more, Dunsing says. Sometimes people do not know how to help and something as simple as donating blankets no longer needed is one way.

“Someone else can be blessed with them,” she says.

Blankets will be handed out to the homeless on the street and local shelters they have partnerships with.

Blankets are being accepted now through January 24 at Crossroads Florence, 828 Heights Boulevard, Florence. They can be dropped off between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dunsing says go to the “Office Entrance.” Just inside the door is a large brown watermelon box to place your donations. The collection box fills quickly, overflowing.

Collecting blankets is an easy thing that Crossroads is doing, Dunsing says. She loves that so many have jumped on board to help. However, Dunsing reminds us those being helped may have been our neighbors. With the pandemic, so many have lost their jobs, eviction is a big problem, people are being put out on the streets. She just wants people to be aware of this.

Giving a blanket can bring warmth and comfort to someone who has nothing. It provides the knowledge someone cares for them. It may give hope and a little dignity back to someone hurting.

“This is just one way that we can share that we love our brothers and sisters and that we can help in our community. That’s the biggest part of it for me, it’s being able to help those in our community,” says Dunsing.

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