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Northeast Ohio man helps hundreds of homeless stay warm during our harsh winters

Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 6:33 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 12:57 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For the last several years, a local man has helped hundreds of homeless stay warm during Northeast Ohio’s harsh winters.

When tragedy strikes who do you turn to? For Steven Jamaal Boyd, he turned to service.

He’s spent the last several years building the Jr. Barnes Foundation.

“We formed this organization in 2015 after the heinous killing of one of my closest friends, William Barnes Jr. we started this in honor of him. He and his family have had a tradition of giving back to the homeless,” said Boyd.

Boyd took that tradition to heart. He wondered, how could he help hundreds of homeless stay warm in the winter. His solution was a hat, gloves, and socks drive.

“350 bags are what we’re expecting this year to go out to people in need,” said Sharonna Boyd, Boyd’s wife.

With help from organizations like the Cleveland Police Department, Boyd has been able to keep the drive going.

“We’ve been donating to the foundation for their hat, scarf, and glove drive for about three years now. Our commander at the fourth district, commander Kutz and our innovation team, we always usually gather items and we donate to the foundation. And he allows me to go with them to pass out the items,” said Det. Michael Williams.

For Williams this drive means more than pitching in and lending a helping hand.

“It’s just a sense of just giving back to the community. By us being police officers and by the foundation being what the foundation is, it’s just a great feeling for people to see us other than when they’re in a time of need. Because usually when you see the police, you need help or it’s not usually your best day. So it’s just a great feeling for people to see us other than during the time of need,” said Williams.

Seven years later, and this drive continues to keep cold, warm.

“We live in Northeastern Ohio by the lake and people need this protection to be able to stay warm in this climate,” said Boyd.

The Jr. Barnes Foundation will pass out their collected items on Dec. 19th.

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