Nonprofit hosts donation drive after death of homeless man in Huntsville

Published: Nov. 13, 2019 at 10:46 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The death of a Huntsville man has moved the community to action.

Huntsville police and family tell WAFF 48 News the body of David Vann was found Tuesday morning.

Ciera Elledge heads Tent City project, a nonprofit that helps gather supplies for the homeless community. She said David Vann’s death hit a nerve with the organization.

“It really shakes all of us, and luckily for us, something good is coming out of something so terrible, it’s really gotten the community involved,” she said.

She organized her team of volunteers to gather food, clothes, and warming supplies at the old Westlawn Middle School.

WAFF 48 News learned that those who stay out in the cold often have no place to go because of some shelters require official identification they cannot afford, require clean criminal backgrounds or at times run out of space.

In other cases, some warming shelters only open their doors when temperatures dip below 32 degrees for 24-consecutive hours.

The groups participating in the drive/drop-off include: Serving Huntsville Homeless Together, Huntsville Community of Hope, Food for Thought, BeArded WARRIORs, Joyful Blessings, Tent City Project Huntsville and Essential Church Huntsville.

The goods will handed out back out to volunteers like Mandy Probus, who leads the non-profit Community of Hope.

Probus’ team will take it to the streets this week to help “friends.”

“The things we most needed last night, and that we’ll need tonight, and moving forward through all these temperatures are fire wood and propane, and hot hands. Things that can keep their body warm,” she said.

The group made up of 7 different organizations handed those supplies out Wednesday night. Touring at least 7 sites in Huntsville, they were met with grateful individuals just trying to survive.

“By the grace of God, somebody moved out here with a generator. So, we were able to have heat and it wasn’t so bad last night," Anna McNeese explained. "The few nights before that, though, it was really bad.”

“I appreciate all the help. I haven’t been in this situation long but I’m grateful for all of the help," Tierra Swopes said.

As the days get shorter and nights get colder, a little help could go a long way.

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