Last week I dropped 40 hats off at the VA Omaha’s Homeless Outreach Center. Thanks to some amazing folks who have been sending hats along to the Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative (shameless plug!) over the last six weeks or so, these hats have made their way to our little corner of the winter-white world from all over the place. California, Michigan, Illinois … so many generous folks from so many different parts of the country.
Let me tell you, if you want to see the best of humanity, go visit the folks that work with homeless and transient vets. I tromped through the mud (thanks to a brief warm-up in the blustery winter weather) carrying a garbage bag full of hats, and these people freaked out like it was three Christmases all rolled up into one. Smiles, squeals, exclamations of joy … one guy even said “I love people like you!”
The Omaha VA Hospital’s Homeless Outreach Center sees over 200 homeless and transient vets each year. And when I mentioned how much I loved that they were serving these folks, they reminded me that Omaha has over 1,000 homeless folks (that number doesn’t include transient folks or people who are staying with friends and relatives) in our area, so their number was just a “drop in the bucket.” Because nothing says biggest heart in the world like that kind of humility about what you do.
I’ve got a few hats off the needles added to the next batch I’ll be taking to the Outreach Center (at the end of February), along with just under a dozen hats I’ve received since I took that first load over. If you’re a hat knitter, I’d love for you to consider helping out! I’d love to bring over 40 or 50 more hats at the end of the month, to help keep as many vets warm and cozy as we possibly can!
And for those who don’t have the time to make a hat right now, know that NE Hats for Hope will continue to collect hats for people of all ages and genders for the foreseeable future. I’m hoping to donate bunches of baby hats to a local hospital this spring/summer, and then have a closet full of hats to donate around town next fall! Check out the NE Hats for Hope Initiative Facebook page for more info, and where to send hats!