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Charity Donates Huge Supply of Winter Gear for Arlington's Homeless

Washington-based nonprofit Gifts for the Homeless dropped off supplies Tuesday, just in time for the expected winter storm.

Arlington's homeless might not be as cold during the so-called snowquester thanks to a major donation Tuesday from a Washington-area charity.

A-SPAN, the Arlington Street People's Assistance Network, received 26 boxes of supplies on Tuesday from Gifts for the Homeless — boxes full of winter coats, fleeces, blankets, gloves and lots of thermal underwear.

"We're going to be distributing it as much as we can today and tomorrow and while it's still winter," said Jan-Michael Sacharko, A-SPAN's director of development.

Two UPS trucks pulled up to the county's emergency winter shelter in the Courthouse neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. The stacks of boxes they left are about as tall as Sacharko, who clocks in at 6 feet, 4 inches tall.

Washington-based Gifts for the Homeless is a nonprofit run by area lawyers. Every year, the group has a battle of the bands to help raise money for organizations that help the homeless in the greater Washington area.

"People on the street have been asking for thermals and other winter gear," Sacharko said. "We've done several drives with different groups. But the sheer quantity that came into today… We don't have to eek it out. We're going to have enough to give people when they need it."

Some items may be able to be stored until next winter, he said.

A-SPAN has been on the group's radar for years, receiving occasional donations. But over the past year, Sacharko has been able to connect with its member via Facebook and Twitter and was able to let them know Arlington's specific needs.

Gifts for the Homeless also provided about a dozen bags of clothing, mostly for young people, to A-SPAN in the fall.

The group donates used clothing to more than 70 shelters and other organizations that help people in need; about 30 organizations receive new clothing, according to the Gifts for the Homeless website.

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