S.L. NEEDS BLANKETS FOR THE POOR

Published: Friday, Nov. 15 1996 12:00 a.m. MST

The Salt Lake City Fire Department is looking for a few (thousand) good blankets.

With winter blowing into Salt Lake City, fire officials are asking residents to donate blankets to the homeless. Their hope is that it will keep those most at risk for exposure a little warmer and a little safer."We respond to at least 1,200 winter exposure calls each year," said Marla Gonzalez, a Salt Lake City fire clerk. "About one third of those involves children."

The fire department is asking donors to deliver new or clean blankets to any Salt Lake fire station. Firefighters are hoping to collect 5,000 blankets by Thanks-giving, which is when the campaign ends. Gonzalez said fire fighters have collected 1,500 blankets so far.

Travelers Aid Society gets most of the blankets with a request of 4,500, Gonzalez said. The county Detoxification Center asked for 400, Salt Lake County Aging hopes to get 200 and the Indian Walk-in Center requested 100 blankets, she said.

"We had 336 children, age 12 and under, receive blankets last winter," said Rosina Trujillo, of Travelers Aid. "These children became very attached to their blankets. The blankets often become prized possessions, giving them warmth and a sense of security that is often lacking in their lives."

Fire stations will take blanket donations from Oct. 1 until December 1.

The fire department spearheads the program "to show the community we're concerned about the at-risk population surviving the winter," said Gonzalez.

"We're also hoping this program will heighten community awareness of the (homeless) problem and prompt them to become involved."

Those who want to donate blankets but aren't sure where a fire station is, can call 799-4103.

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