On any given night, more than 550,000 people are homeless in the United States. During the cold, winter months, this statistic is even more alarming considering many of them don’t have adequate clothing and personal care items to stay warm through the night.
At age 11, Northern California teenagers, Corinne Hindes and Katrine Kirsebom, witnessed a homeless man in their neighborhood, shivering in only a T-shirt and pants on a cold February evening. It was at that moment that Corinne and Katrine sprang into action, and Warm Winters was born.
As a youth-founded and youth-driven nonprofit, Warm Winters empowers volunteers across the country to work with local ski resorts to repurpose lost and found items, ultimately donating them to local homeless shelters as well as homeless individuals. To date, Warm Winters has distributed more than 40,000 items of warm clothing, new socks and toiletries to over 26,000 homeless community members across the nation. The nonprofit has over 500 youth volunteers and 30 ski resort partners across 12 states.
In November, Warm Winters was recognized as one of four runner-up nonprofits selected by Mazda to receive $10,000 in goods and services as part of the 2016 Mazda Drive for Good® charity program. Corinne and Katrine were over the moon to learn that Warm Winters had been selected as one of the 2016 runner-up nonprofits and displayed just as much excitement when they were presented with a check at Concord Mazda by regional representatives from Mazda North American Operations.
As both prepare to finish high school and go to college, the sustainability of Warm Winters is a pressing issue for Corinne and Katrine.
“This $10,000 grant will allow us to expand our capacity, putting needed systems and support into place that will ensure that Warm Winters’ day-to-day operations continue to run smoothly when we are in college,” they said.
Beyond the award money, Corinne and Katrine are honored to receive the vote of confidence that Mazda has given them. Through their work and leadership, the teenagers hope to instill a sense of passion in youth and teenagers across the country to also volunteer in their local communities.
As Corinne and Katrine say, “You don’t have to change the world in a day, but you can change someone’s whole world today!”