Friends collecting sleeping bags for homeless on cold nights

- A chance encounter on a cold, December night ignited a passion in an Eagan, Minnesota woman: to spread warmth.

Diane Dodd was leaving the theater in St. Paul when she saw a man under a blanket on top of bricks.

“That just upset me so much,” Diane Dodd told Fox 9. “I don’t know exactly what it was, but it was just the thought of how cold that person would be.”

Diane Dodd called her friend, Hayley Hogan, and the two agreed to start collecting below-zero sleeping bags. They started a GoFundMe, and have raised thousands of dollars. 

Over the weekend, the pair started delivering the sleeping bags.

“Everyone who holds them has their arms around them [like] it’s a pot of gold. But they’re so appreciative and the bags are so precious to them. They’re holding on to them, it’s a body language thing. It just feels different, and the smiles they have," Diane said. 

Diane says she loves the connections and conversations she has been having with the people she brings the sleeping bags to. 

“That’s it, that’s enough. I mean they’re just people, just like me. And connecting them, and making them warm, I’m just trying to make them warm in the horrible winter," she said. 

Hayley praised her friend’s compassion. “It’s just her compassion when she saw that it just came out immediately,” Hayley Hogan told Fox 9. “She just felt this outpouring of care for him.”

Diane and Hayley also plan to also provide socks, tarps and other supplied to the homeless. They say they’re coordinating with nonprofits on where, when and who to provide the supplies. Experts tell Fox 9 the safest, and warmest option for the homeless is to come inside – rather than battle the dangerous winter temperatures.

To help Listening House, one of the non-]profits providing shelter, visit: givemn.org

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