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San Juan Safe Communities Initiative collects sleeping bags, backpacks for the homeless

Donations can be dropped off at three locations in San Juan County

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — San Juan Safe Communities Initiative is collecting sleeping bags and backpacks to help homeless people stay warm this winter.

The idea for the Warm Our Community donation drive came from Bloomfield Municipal Judge Sadie Smith-McDaniel. After McDaniel suggested it, the Mental Health Task Force has spearheaded the effort to make the initiative a reality.

“As a group we really wanted to be able to provide some type of positive outreach to our homeless community,” she said.

Smith-McDaniel said there are not a lot of services available for homeless people in San Juan County. San Juan Safe Communities Initiative Executive Director Greg Allen said there is limited availability of emergency shelters in the area to assist homeless people.

“We can’t provide an actual shelter at this time, but we can provide warmth,” Smith-McDaniel said.

Allen said the sleeping bags will be placed into the backpacks along with other items. Local law enforcement agencies will distribute these bags to people they meet who need them.

“We know that there’s a homeless situation or issue in San Juan County,” Allen said.

He said the backpacks and sleeping bags are a temporary solution.

In addition to the backpacks and sleeping bags, San Juan Safe Communities Initiative is also accepting donated sleeping pads and other items of comfort.

Allen said people can also make monetary donations. He said checks should be made out to San Juan Safe Communities Initiative and should include the words “Warm Our Community” in the memo area on the check.

These donations can be dropped off at San Juan Safe Communities Initiative, 100 W. Broadway Ave. in Farmington, District Court Programs, 103 S. Oliver Drive in Aztec or Bloomfield Municipal Court, 711 Ruth Lane in Bloomfield.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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