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Volunteer Groups Gearing Up To Provide Coats, Blankets For Homeless Individuals As Temperatures Drop

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Fall is here and the coming cold weather will be especially difficult for homeless individuals in the city, but a group of volunteers is gearing up to help provide basic gear, including coats.

Timothy Troy Wilcox, born and raised in Queens, lives on the streets.

"We're struggling," he told CBS2's Dave Carlin. "We need everything."

A home is what he needs most, but also warmer clothing as temperatures drop.

He says he can't think ahead to winter.

"I got to get through today," Wilcox said.

Several nonprofit groups endeavor to warm up homeless individuals, if only a little bit, with coat and blanket donation drives.

Volunteers with the "I'll Be There Project," founded by Chun Rosencranz, started accepting donated coats. They handed out coats at Penn Station last winter.

In the coming weeks, the group will return, handing them out again, but differently, with masks and social distancing.

Another group is Shelter Share, it was founded in 2019 by sculptor Anthony Valencia.

Now when he is not making art, he delivers donations, including to a Rescue Mission in Lower Manhattan.

"We've gotten a tremendous amount of support from people who want to make an impact without making contact," Valencia said.

It works by logging on to Shelter Share, picking an item and buying it. Then it's delivered for free. Warm clothing will be made available.

"A donor can purchase that coat and we would then deliver it to the shelter of their choice," Valencia said.

One of Shelter Share's volunteers is Jennifer Heinrich, currently unemployed. She says it lifts her spirits to help others.

"And be somebody like Anthony to take the initiative and say this is what I can do that no one else is doing, and he's not trying to make money, he's trying to help people," she said.

It's not a fix for homelessness, but it can feel like a warm hug. And that's a start.

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