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Classroom Lesson Turns Into Winter Gear Drive for Egan Warming Center

Wendy Machalicek

Second graders at El Camino del Rio are holding a winter gear drive Thursday, Dec. 17 for Egan Warming Center. A classroom lesson turned into real life action.




While Marcy Hellman prepared lessons for Veteran’s Day this year, the weather turned cold enough for Egan Warming Center to activate its services. This led to discussions about unhoused veterans. And how Egan Warming Center’s namesake, Major Thomas Egan, was found frozen to death 12 years ago on Eugene’s streets.


To help, the class sent a letter to school families asking donations be dropped off when they pick up supplies for online learning. 


Second grader Lola Schultz, who contributed a significant amount to the letter, shared how participating makes her feel.


“I’m just really happy because I like sharing care to others,” said Schultz.


Classmate Juniper Klatt created her own goal for the drive.


“My goal is to make every homeless person wearing a poncho in the city,” said Klatt.


The ponchos are military grade and are large enough to cover a grown man wearing a backpack. It also has grommets so it can be spread out and pitched like a tent. Juniper has chosen to donate the Cosmic pattern so they’ll look nice and be easily recognizable.


To get the word out about her goal, Juniper created an informational video to share with family and friends on Facebook. And with the help of her parents, she is also creating a website to share information about her goal. 


So far, Juniper’s only donations come from family, but she has already collected 50 ponchos. She’s even convinced her mom to match the donations she collects. 


“At first, I was like, we have to have a limit because we only have so much money,” said Wendy Machalicek. “But, she convinced me there were other things we didn’t have to buy.”


Juniper will be taking the ponchos to Egan personally.


Credit Niels Pasternak
Flyer for Spencer Butte Middle and South Eugene High School winter gear drive.

  South Eugene and Spencer Butte are also holding winter gear drives. Items needed are sleeping bags, small tents, warm coats, rain gear, gloves, hats and waterproof boots.


Donation barrels can be found in front of El Camino del Rio and Spencer Butte Middle schools through Friday, Dec. 18. After this, donations can be taken to St. Vincent de Paul donation centers on Chad Drive or Seneca Road. Make sure bags/boxes are labeled for Egan Warming Center. For more information email eganwarmingcenter@svdp.us.

Aubrey Bulkeley co-created FLUX podcast, a three-part series to accompany award-winning UO School of Journalism and Communication publication, FLUX Magazine. Bulkeley finished her Master's degree in Journalism at the University of Oregon in 2019.
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