Chilly night conversation led to warm blankets for homeless veterans

Veterans’ Advocate


Published:

A brief casual greeting on a rather cold evening turned into a conversation that led Jerry Waters to start what he named “Wrapped in Love.”

“It was just an idea that I came up with,” Waters said. “I was talking to a homeless vet.”

That idea led him to start collecting blankets in his neighborhood of Lost Lakes in Cocoa and at his church, First Christian in Cocoa Beach, to distribute to homeless veterans.

The movement soon spread, and Waters started collecting dozens of blankets. He has distributed more than 200 in recent months to homeless veterans and to other homeless people he encounters.

I’ve know Waters for several years and know he is passionate about helping fellow veterans wherever he can. He served in the Army’s 377th Artillery Battalion, 101st Airborne Division from 1957 to 1959.

“My challenge is finding where the homeless vets are,” he said. “Homeless veterans are what I’m concerned about, but if someone else is in need I will help them out.”

Knowing Waters, I believe the conversation with the homeless veteran was just what pushed the idea to fruition. He likely was thinking of ways to help fellow veterans, and blankets for homeless veterans is the idea that stuck from that casual conversation.

And that conversation started because Waters cared and was concerned about the homeless veteran he met that evening.

When he encounters a homeless veteran, he asks where to find others, so he can check to see if he can help them with a blanket.

Waters said he always carries at least 10 blankets in his vehicle, more when he seeks out the homeless on cold nights. He carries some even now that the weather is warmer. He said he believes the homeless will still need blankets during the summer.

“The demand is always going to be there,” he said.

You can donate blankets by calling Waters at 321-213-4399 or by dropping them off at First Christian Church of Cocoa Beach at 470 S. Brevard Ave. in Cocoa Beach. 

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