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Organization helping homeless youth in need of warm weather items

Donations are down this year at Iowa Homeless Youth Centers. So, they are asking for donations to help keep homeless youth in the area warm this winter.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As temperatures begin to drop, Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, wants to make sure homeless youth in the area stay warm.

To do so, Toby O'Berry said they are gathering warm weather clothing and gear.

They are in need of is coats, hats, gloves and things like tents. 

O'Berry, the center's director, said the reason they are asking for the items is that their warm clothing supply is low, partly due to the pandemic. 

"We're not really able to connect with corporations to do donation drives like we were prior to the pandemic," O'Berry said. "So we're just not getting the surplus of critical supplies."

He noted getting the supply is important because the organization serves around 650 clients a year, ages 16-24. 

This is either through their emergency beds program, drop-in services or helping clients find apartments. 

Part of the drop-in services includes the youth being able to get food, toiletries and clothes they need, which this time of the year would be winter gear. 

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Caleb Kirkpatrick, a peer support advocate and a former IHYC client who also used to be homeless, said getting winter gear is always helpful, especially to the youth who have not been able to get permanent housing yet.

The clothes help them stay warm as they brace temperatures outside.  

"They sleep in those alleys that have the vents to keep warm, even though the air isn't super great for you," Kirkpatrick said. "They just, I mean, you do what it takes to keep warm and alive around here and I think it's super important to have stuff around here to offer them."

When he was still getting help from IHYC, Kirkpatrick told Local 5 the clothing donations meant the world to him and he knows it will mean the world to others. 

"I just think people should know the clients that come here are good people who are down on their luck," Kirkpatrick said. 

If you want to donate warm-weather clothing or other items like tents or toiletries, you can do so at 612 Locust Street in downtown Des Moines.

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