With winter already upon us, those who are less fortunate can be quite literally left out in the cold. HHRD’s Global Winter Provisions program was created to ensure that no one finds themselves without a means to keep warm during the colder months of the year. For those of us lucky enough to have four walls and HVAC to keep us warm, winter is a time associated with the joys of the holidays and winter sports. For the less fortunate, such as those in impoverished communities across the world, the focus is on survival.
While global reports find that there are over 150 million (2% of the world’s population) homeless people across the world, the numbers for those lacking adequate housing are much larger. Habitat for Humanity estimates that there are over 1.6 billion people (21% of the world’s population) who do not have adequate housing and are consistently subjected to the elements. That’s 1 out of every 5-people alive today. During the winter, this problem can go from uncomfortable, to life-threatening.
With the arrival of colder temperatures comes numerous life-threatening challenges for the needy. Apart from the risk of hypothermia, the World Health Organization (WHO) has found numerous longer-term issues that a lack of heat can cause. The WHO, in their Housing and Health Guidelines, recommend a minimum indoor temperature of 65°F (18°C) to prevent high blood pressure, asthma, mental health decline, and cold-exposure related deaths. In poorer countries, it is sometimes impossible to ensure consistently heated indoor spaces, and the need for assistance in the form of warm clothing becomes more prevalent.
The Global Winter Provisions Program currently serves impoverished populations in 16 different countries. HHRD partners with local non-profits to help determine both types of items needed, and the quantity of those items. The non-profits that are a part of this program have been thoroughly vetted, and all hold the best interest of the local populations at heart. Through these partnerships, HHRD can accurately direct funds used for local purchases of necessary goods.
The money spent is used effectively and locally sourced goods are evaluated and compared to determine the most cost-effective way to proceed while maintaining the quality of the goods. By giving money directly to vetted, non-profit partner organizations in the local area, Helping Hands can provide assistance while also stimulating the local economy. To further empower the people of the affected region, and ensure people are getting the goods they will use, the Global Winter Provisions Program gives coupons to the families they are helping. These coupons can be redeemed at participating relief locations, and offer these people an experience similar to a day of shopping.
Due to the comprehensiveness of the vetting program, a small donation goes a long way. HHRD is able to help 5 to 7 people stay warm for the entire winter with each $100 they are able to commit to this cause. $100 has the potential to save several lives this winter by preventing complications caused by exposure to extreme temperatures.