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Lending a Hand

Dec 05, 2017 01:56PM

Cold Weather Clothing Program

White Pony Express (WPE), headquartered in Pleasant Hill, has just launched its third Cold Weather Clothing Program (CWCP) to help the homeless in Contra Costa County. The goal of this program, handled by WPE’s Free General Store (FGS), is to distribute at least 10,000 items, including warm coats, pants, shirts, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, underwear, and boots.  

White Pony Express’ CWCP originated in January 2016, when two men without shelter died in Walnut Creek from exposure to very low temperatures.  It was that sad situation that spurred WPE’s founder and principal advisor, Carol Weyland Conner, PhD, spiritual director of Sufism Reoriented, to ask that warm clothing be procured and provided to the homeless to enable them to endure the freezing cold.  FGS was able to provide hundreds of items to homeless persons who were most at risk.

Earlier that winter, “Roy,” a man without shelter, had told a WPE volunteer that he was looking for some thermal pants because he knew a very cold winter was coming and he was sleeping out in the open.  WPE happened to have a large thermal jumpsuit that had just been donated to the Free General Store and the volunteer gave it to him.  A year later, the same volunteer was giving a new pair of jeans to a man who had been wearing the same pants every day for three months when Roy came on the scene and exclaimed, "White Pony Express saved my life last winter.  You gave me that thermal jumpsuit!"

WPE is primarily asking for monetary donations to help with purchases of clothing for WPE’s Cold Weather Clothing Project.   These can be sent to White Pony Express, 1966 Tice Valley Blvd., #101, Walnut Creek, CA 94595.  Cold weather clothing donations of coats, etc., are also being accepted but need to be new or like new. This excludes clothing that is stained, torn, or shows wear. Each garment should be in good enough condition to give to a close family member.  

Donations of new or like-new clothing can be delivered to Suite 101, 3380 Vincent Road, Pleasant Hill, during hours of operation listed here:

Volunteers are also needed for WPE’s Food Rescue program, which picks up 5,000 lbs. of surplus fresh food (fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, deli, dry goods, bread, pastries and eggs) every day and delivers it to nonprofits that feed the hungry in our county—all free of charge.  In just over four years, WPE has rescued more than 5,200,000 lbs. of quality, nutritious food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Those wishing to volunteer for WPE should contact Mandy Nakaya at (925) 818-6361 or at [email protected]. For more information about WPE, visit