TMI student leads coat drive for homeless

1/16/2019 With the help of several area businesses, TMI Episcopal senior Hannah Allen brought some seasonal warmth to homeless men, women and children visiting Haven for Hope last month.Starting last July, Allen began her project to collect new and gently used coats for those in need. At a final, Dec. 8, 2018, “coat roundup,” she gathered more than 300 coats, contributed at Kahlig Auto Group dealerships including North Park Lincoln, North Park Mazda, North Park Lexus of San Antonio, North Park Lexus at Dominion, North Park Subaru, North Park Subaru at Dominion, North Park Volkswagen and North Park Chevrolet Castroville.

She delivered the coats, along with newly purchased hats, gloves, scarves and socks, during a cold snap on Dec. 11, 2018, for distribution to men, women and children visiting Haven for Hope, a downtown San Antonio provider of services to the homeless.

This was Allen’s second year of distributing winter outerwear at the Haven campus. Last year, she collected 200 coats and had to turn away women and children. For her second coat drive, she contacted more businesses and started collecting coats in the summer, before anyone else was thinking about winter weather.

A volunteer since eighth grade, Allen has been passionate about raising awareness and helping the homeless since she attended her first “Sleep Out” in downtown London. The following year, she organized another “Sleep Out/So Others Don’t Have To” event to raise funds for the homeless. She also has organized canned food and toiletries drives, cooked and served meals at Haven for Hope and has worked in the garden of the San Antonio Food Bank, pulling weeds, harvesting vegetables and cleaning chicken coops.

“Living in cities around the world such as London, Seoul, Stuttgart and San Antonio,” Allen says, “has shown me that homelessness is an international dilemma that needs to be recognized and cared for.  No one is ever too young to answer the call God’s message sends to help those around you.  To recognize the issue of homelessness is one feat, but tackling the situation altogether is not something one person can do alone. 

“Hopefully, we can continue raising awareness for the men and women struggling against homelessness and grow one step closer to an overall better world.”