UW students clean homeless shelters after record-breaking year - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW students clean homeless shelters after a few weeks of record-breaking numbers


MADISON (WKOW)-- The harsh winter has certainly been tough on Madison homeless shelters. Organizers with Porchlight say they've seen record numbers at many of their locations.

That's why they were excited to hear that Kohl's department stores and UW-Madison students were teaming up to help them out.

"They kind of spread the word through their student organizations and I am so excited that we had the amount of signups that we have," event co-organizer Joelle Rosen says.

More than 150 volunteers answered the call for help.

"It makes me feel great actually. I think that's what this university is all about. It shows that we have to give back and we're a great group of students," UW-Madison student Nick Kratchmer says.

Volunteers spent the afternoon cleaning up the shelters and kitchen areas and assembling care packages filled with donated hygiene items.

"This winter has been really hard," Porchlight Development Director Beatrice Hadidian says. "We've seen record numbers at the shelters every night. We have people dealing with the stresses of living in this really cold environment."
Shelter organizers say the volunteer effort couldn't have come at a better time with all of the volume they've seen at their shelters over the last few weeks. A thorough cleanup is just what they needed to get them ready for the second half of the winter.

Workers at the shelters say the extra help will give them the opportunity to focus more attention on the people they serve. Helping them with various issues and mental problems they face everyday out on the streets.

"Then we can get beyond just shelter and just food and just cleanliness and just hygiene. We can kind of get to the real issues that people are having," Hadidian says.

Porchlight says they've served more than 100,000 nights of shelter to the homeless community this year. They say the need is still out there for winter clothing and other donations for their shelters.

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