San Jose: Volunteers help homeless brave the winter

SAN JOSE — As the rain dried up early Saturday and most people were just waking up to a warm cup of coffee, a small group of volunteers trekked through the forgotten ends of the city, handing out sleeping bags and other donated items to the homeless.

Sleeping Bags for the Homeless of Silicon Valley has made 26 trips to homeless camps throughout San Jose in just over one year. The group has distributed 262 tarps, 418 sleeping bags, 255 blankets, 33 tents and hundreds of sack lunches, bottled water, dog food and toiletries, according to Mark Metzler, the organization’s founder and president.

“We believe that any approach to the homeless problem that is not based on love and kindness is bound to fail,” Metzler said in an email. “We have had many joyful encounters, as we reach out to and reconnect with destitute, indigent, and penniless people who have been chased down the street, like animals, into the harshest and most brutal circumstances of survival.”

The all-volunteer effort meets for distributions about twice a month and aims to educate the public on the causes of homelessness and potential solutions.

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