Nov 30, 2022 3 min read

How to help when it's freezing

How to help when it's freezing
(Photo illustration by Valerie Osier)
Table of Contents

Here are the groups coordinating efforts to help unhoused people and how you can chip in.

There are hundreds of unhoused people across Spokane who are freezing because they don’t have access to shelter. While the city isn’t activating any additional warming shelters, has a debatable number of open shelter beds and has closed the libraries, there are groups who are stepping up to provide supplies to folks who are in need.

[We have plenty of ink to grow this list! If there are any groups we missed, please email valerie@rangemedia.co with information on how people can help.]

Compassionate Addiction Treatment

VOLUNTEER: A ton of volunteer efforts have been coordinated by CAT, which supports unhoused people who are in different stages of addiction and recovery. They have room for about 50 people at their office warming center at 168 S Division St. and need volunteers 24 hours a day to help out until at least Dec. 23. (They are also fundraising on Facebook to try to offset their costs for these extended hours.)

Volunteer tasks include: talking with guests, organizing donated items, making sandwiches or snacks and keeping spaces clean. Fill out their volunteer survey here.

They are also looking for volunteers who can offer mobile outreach, which includes driving supplies to people, checking on folks and transporting people to CAT.

DONATE: CAT is accepting donations at their office:

  • Blankets
  • Hand/boot warmers
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Coats
  • Hoodies/sweats
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Thermals
  • Boots/tennis shoes
  • Backpacks
  • Cash donations for supplies can be made here

BUSINESSES: CAT needs meals for the folks they will be serving. Businesses can donate meals or help their outreach team by providing hot cocoa and coffee.

CHURCHES: CAT is also looking for churches to allow them to staff another small warming center site in their building.

CAT also has a Google Doc that’s updated with donation needs, volunteer sign up forms and ways to advocate here.

Mutual Aid Survival Squad

MASS is a group of volunteers that have been operating since November 2020. They distribute resources, homemade food and survival supplies to unsheltered people at least twice each week in a no-barrier, take-what-you-need style. In warmer seasons, they also organize park clean ups and gardening projects.

COOK: You can sign up for their Meal Train to help cook warm meals for unsheltered people in the downtown area. There are a lot more details at the link, but basically you cook a meal big enough to feed at least 15 people. This can be pretty much anything, but some examples they give are spaghetti, chili, stir fry and burritos. You sign up for a day, cook the food and put it in a large, warm insulated container and either drop it off or they pick it up. Read all the instructions here.

DONATE: They are taking survival supply donations and they have drop off locations around the city (the Carl Maxey Center, Veda Lux Boutique and the porch at 1607 W Buckeye Ave).

Specific needs right now are:

  • New, warm socks
  • Gloves
  • Hand warmers
  • Sterno canned heat
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Hats
  • Jackets
  • Thermal under layers (like long johns)
  • Winter boots (all adult sizes)
  • Lighters
  • Tarps
  • Cash donations can be made at the MASS Venmo

Yoyot Sp’q’n’i

Yoyot Sp’q’n’i is a Spokane nonprofit focused on advocating for and uplifting the Indigenous community and bringing awareness to Missing Murdered Indigenous Peoples.

DONATE: They need winter gear and supplies to better help their clients. They need all sizes of clothing, including women’s, mens and children sizes. To donate, call them at 509-768-7248, email at info@yoyotspqni.org, or message their Facebook page.

  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Winter coats
  • Tents
  • Socks
  • Boots
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Cash donations can be made at their PayPal here.

Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR)

SCAR hosts Burritos for the People every Sunday morning at Compassionate Addiction Treatment Center (CAT). They feed people, give them coffee, hot cocoa, hand warmers and clothing to stay warm.

VOLUNTEER: You can sign up to volunteer any Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and they'll especially need volunteers on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) since they likely won't have enough.

DONATE: Make a donation of burrito supplies, outreach supplies or money any Sunday from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at CAT at their location on 168 S Division Street. They ask that monetary donations be made to CAT and if you want your donation to go towards goods for Camp Hope, to leave that in the notes section. If you need donations picked up, email Spectrum Center Spokane at kj@spectrumcenterspokane.org.

Supplies for Burritos

  • Snow salt
  • Foil sheets
  • Napkins
  • Coffee creamer pods
  • Water flavor packets
  • Hot cocoa
  • Tea
  • Disposable gloves
  • Extra large trashbags
  • Thermal bags
  • Coffee cups  
  • Tapatio packets
  • A canopy

Supplies for outreach:

  • Socks
  • Hand and boot warmers
  • Gloves
  • Beanies and hats
  • Blankets
  • Coats
  • Hoodies and sweats
  • Long sleeved shirts
  • Thermals
  • Boots
  • Backpacks

And again, if there are any groups we missed, please email valerie@rangemedia.co with information on how people can help!

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