Torrey Hills father and son collecting blankets for homeless youth

Mike and Matt Stein

A Torrey Hills father and son are raising money for a blanket drive to make the winter season a little more comfortable for the region’s homeless youth.

“It just came upon me that maybe we should get some blankets because it’s wintertime,” said Mike Stein, who has been working with his 14-year-old son Matt on the campaign, which they have been promoting online and within their community. “We’re just trying to do something nice for the holidays and help out some kids in San Diego.”

Mike began posting about the blanket drive, which he and his son are holding in collaboration with Urban Youth Collaborative, on his Facebook account. He said that as of Thanksgiving, their efforts brought in approximately $3,500, which can provide about 350 blankets at a cost of roughly $10 per blanket.

The annual homeless count in San Diego County tallied nearly 600 unaccompanied youth, a little more than half of whom are unsheltered. The rest couchsurf or find some other form of temporary accommodations. There were also 381 homeless families counted, many including children. Those figures were slight decreases compared to 2019, but there are still more than 7,000 total people experiencing homelessness countywide.

The Steins have participated in other initiatives to help San Diego’s homeless population, including packing lunches over the past several years. Outreach options were more limited this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matt, a student at Maranatha Christian Schools, has collected other materials for distribution to the Monarch School in downtown San Diego, which serves local homeless children.

“My son has gone around the community asking for donations, clothes and toiletries for the homeless school, the monarch school, downtown,” Mike said, adding that “a lot of families are really stoked that a young boy would do something like that,”

Mike and Matt are looking for donations of at least $10, which provides one blanket.

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