BEND, OR -- Every year, Bend firefighters and paramedics respond to cold-weather related emergencies, and they’re asking the community to help, before winter returns, "We are collecting warm clothing, hats and gloves that we’ll gather up and then donate to various organizations in town that will help distribute those items to people in need," Firefighter Mitch Webb tells KBND News, "To try and mitigate the amount of cold weather-related issues that people in Bend experience."
Webb says, "Every year, we respond to multiple cold-weather related emergencies. We usually see first-hand the effects of people who aren’t warm enough with the clothing that they have." He adds, "Hypothermia would be the common one. Those cold nights that you and I are at home, bundled up, there are some citizens that don’t have the means to heat their house properly. Other citizens that we see that recently relocate to Bend from warmer climates that simply aren’t prepared and don’t have the financial means to get the entire family coats. Then, there’s also some of the population that is without a home."
Donations of all shapes and sizes will be distributed through local service organizations, including the Bethlehem Inn and WIC. For the first time, the fire department is also collecting professional clothing. "Suit jackets, sport coats, things like that," says Webb, "and we’re donating those to Bethlehem Inn, as well, to try and give those people that are trying to get jobs and trying to get back into the workforce, give them a chance to go into an interview feeling prepared for it and feeling properly dressed." Donations can be dropped off at any Bend Fire station through November 10.