Eau Claire group gathers winter gear for homeless community - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire group gathers winter gear for homeless community


Eau Claire (WQOW) - As the temperature continues to drop, a group in Eau Claire is doing what it can to keep homeless people in our community warm this winter... but they need your help. 

About a year ago, Maria Hinterberg was inspired by a friend to look for ways to help the homeless. She created a Facebook group called  "Warm Blessings in Eau Claire" and began asking for donations. Since then, her team of volunteers has grown which means so has the number of people she's able to help. 

Hinterberg told News 18 the community has overwhelmingly supported her mission, offering everything from warms gloves to backpacks to handmade blankets.  "It was the sweetest thing for the Boy Scouts, they were probably 6 or 7 years old, they made us some tie blankets. They made four and I gave one away yesterday," Hinterberg said. 

Thursday, Hinterberg said the group is in desperate need of thermal clothing, both tops and bottoms. She's also asking for winter coats, boots and bus tokens and says she's confident the people in her hometown will help her fill those needs. 

"I think Eau Claire in particular is a very good community," she said, "and caring and always wanting to help people, which is fabulous." 

Since "Warm Blessings in Eau Claire" isn't associated with any other organization it's up to Hinterberg and her team of volunteers to personally deliver the donations to the people who need them. She often drives around with a few supplies in her car, like hats and gloves and snacks and water, just in case she comes across someone who could use them. 

Hinterberg says over the past year, she's developed lasting relationship with many types of people who are homeless in our area.

"They're very nice and they need a lot of help, just different situations," Hinterberg told News 18. "But we enjoy what we're doing and enjoy the people. Even just talking and having conversations with them." 

Sara Fischer, a volunteer, says before she started helping with "Warm Blessings in Eau Claire" she was unaware just how many people were homeless in the community. Now, she's committed to helping them live better lives. 

"They need help as much as we need help," Fischer said. "It's definitely a community project." 

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