I saw this story on Facebook, I shared it on Facebook, but I think that many more people need to see it, so I'm publishing it here. It's the sort of story that brings people together -- and that we need to bring into our respective communities.
The title is fairly innocuous: Design student creates coat for homeless people. A less dispassionate title might be: "Countless lives of homeless may now be saved, for $7 apiece."
How? By making it less likely that they will freeze to death.
As the 22-year-old designer, Veronika Scott of Detroit, says: "It's a coat for the homeless that turns into a sleeping bag at night."
As the story says, it's newly developed -- and it's going national.
(Note: I have no ties at all to this product, pecuniary or otherwise.)
"What I found, in working at shelters and getting to know homeless people, is that pride is one of their biggest needs," Scott said. "Whether or not they can get into a shelter, they want to be able to take care of themselves."
Part of that pride, Scott learned, meant being able to sleep outside without freezing to death. In Detroit in the winter, a homeless person can die of exposure even in the daytime. To Scott, the logical thing was to devise a warm coat for the daytime that could also be used as a life-saving blanket at night.
Scott takes synthetic quilting used in industrial clothing and stitches it to an outer shell of Tyvek, a paper-thin, crinkly material used in mail envelopes and building insulation. Tyvek is so water resistant and heat-trapping that Scott and her friends have been able to sleep in 17-degree weather, in the snow, and stay warm, she said.
The coat-bag weighs only 1 pound and looks like an extra-large coat with a big hood. It costs $7 to $10 to produce.
(Check out the linked story for a photo.)
My reaction is: "damn, this makes me believe in something again."
President Obama, please give this woman a medal -- and help her find a market.