TAMPA - It's cold out there, and some sadly don't have a place to call home but hundreds will be warm tonight, thanks to the mission of one woman, Ricki South.
South’s dedication to helping keep the homeless warm was driven by heartbreak.
Her husband, Mark was homeless, and four years ago, he died trying to stay warm on a cold night.
So four years ago, South decided to try to make a difference by handing out free sleeping bags.
Those who showed up to get a sleeping bag were cold, some hungry, all were homeless.
Despite their circumstances, they are giving thanks.
“Tonight, I will sleep good and warm,” said Javier Pedros, who was among hundreds, to receive a sleeping bag.
The sleeping bags provided at South’s shelter not only gave people bedding to sleep in, it could keep bodies warm in temperatures below 30 degrees.
“I thank God for it,” Padros said.
Padros thanks South as well.
“It just feels wonderful,” South said.
Ricki said her purpose in life is helping the homeless.
“We know that this isn’t the cure, it's just a helping a hand.
She helps by providing sleeping bags by the hundreds.
“Even if you are in a shelter it drops to 25, 30, 35, you need something to bundle up in,” South said.
South was going to hand out sleeping bags next weekend, but moved it up because of the cold front. She plans to give away 900 sleeping bags this year, three times more than last year.
She is able to give away even more bags because her non-profit is growing.
Visit www.helpkeepwarm.org if you would like to learn more or help.
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