Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baked Potatoes

Often while walking down the street of our fair city during the winter months, I see homeless folks huddling in doorways, over steam vents and sewer grates doing anything they can to get and stay warm. My heart goes out to them as I cannot imagine their daily hardships, endured season to season. I don't, however, always feel comfortable giving them my loose change or just a dollar. I think, "How far can they get on a dollar? That's not enough to make a difference."

While I can't do everything for everyone, I can do one thing for someone.

So I started giving out space blankets. You know, the kind that make you look like a baked potato when you wrap up in them? While the majority of people already know how to use them, I also advise to wrap the woolen blankets others donate inside the thermal blanket to keep it dry.

The science behind the material is simple. As an insulating barrier, the blanket protects against some of the major ways we lose heat - by radiation of body heat and convection (think air moving across skin). It's not rocket science, even though the Mylar material is a by-product of the space age.

But their uses don't end when the weather turns warm. They can still keep you and your stuff dry in the Spring and Summer rains!

While I can't solve the complex issue of homelessness on my own, I can feel good about giving comfort to those less fortunate. My dollar seems to go a lot further and bring a bigger smile to the recipient’s face. Now that feels like a win-win to me.

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