Local effort seeks blue jeans to help homeless

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Organizers are hoping that a joint community service project between the Rome Rotary Club and the Zonta Club will have enough legs to help those in need in the community.

The program — “Blue Jeans for the Homeless” — is seeking gently-used men’s, women’s and children’s blue jeans, in any size or color which will, in turn, be donated to help homeless and other individuals in need get through the long winter ahead. New jeans will also be accepted.

The items are being collected through Tuesday, Dec. 15, and organizers say that even a small family gathering for Thanksgiving can safely yield big results for the homeless.

“As families gather for Thanksgiving dinner, they can collect blue jeans amongst themselves,” says Carla Till, a longtime Zonta and Rotary member who is among the project organizers. “ One person can drop them off, and all will know their donation is appreciated and they have made a positive difference in our community.”

Matt Miller, director or the Rome Rescue Mission says, “...our homeless population are at a constant risk of exposure during the fall and winter seasons. Blue Jeans are durable, comfortable and thermal under garments can easily be worn with them. We are often asked for clothing and Blue Jeans are the first choice of most.”

“Thank you for looking out for our most vulnerable,” Miller said.

The poor in the region are facing both the annual onslaught of cold and snow as well as the ongoing economic challenges that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it has brought to the nation, including the local area.

Students at Mohawk Valley Community College have joined the Rotary/Zonta effort, collecting blue jeans on the college’s Rome and Utica campuses to donate. Additionally, people can safely donate blue jeans by dropping them off on the front porch of 1605 N. George St. or at the at the Western Town Library, 9172 Main St., Westernville between 2 and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday or from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday through the Dec. 15 collection cutoff.

According to a Western Town Library announcement, gift certificate prizes will be awarded for the most jeans donated; the most children’s jeans donated, and the most different colored jeans. These prizes are community-wide and are not limited to Western Town Library drop-offs. If you wish to be considered for a prize, include your name and telephone number with your donation.

The effort, organizers said, seeks to not just provide physical warmth for those who often lack even basic necessities such as blue jeans to ward off winter’s chill but to also provide some emotional support, showing in a very tangible way that there are people who care and are willing to help.

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