UA Little Rock employee helps city’s homeless stay warm for the holidays

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock employee has made it her mission to help the city’s homeless stay warm during winter. 

Tanice Blackman, operations manager for undergraduate admissions, is collecting coats, scarves, hats, blankets, sleeping bags, and any other item that will help people stay warm outside.

Blackman and 10 other volunteers will tie the items around trees and poles in downtown Little Rock on Markham Street between Ringo and Cross streets on Friday, Dec. 8, so that anyone who needs them can take them.

Attached to the items will be a note reading, “I’m not lost. Please take me with you if you are cold. Stay warm. God bless!”

Blackman’s campaign to help Little Rock’s less fortunate started last year when she and her friends searched for a way to help the homeless during the holiday season.

“A friend (Yvette Swift) and I saw the scarves idea on Facebook. What caught my eye was the little note that was attached to each of the scarves and coats wrapped around the poles,” Blackman said. “We wanted to help some of the homeless people in our own neighborhood and city.”

Blackman and her friends and family collected scarves and tied them to trees and poles in downtown Little Rock in late December 2016 and early January 2017. 

Tanice Blackman and her friends and family members tie scarves for the homeless around light poles in downtown Little Rock in December 2016.
Tanice Blackman and her friends and family members tie scarves for the homeless around light poles in downtown Little Rock in December 2016.

“With so much going on in the world, I also envisioned it as a way for us all to come together as one,” Blackman said. “I felt like anyone with a heart and who has compassion for others would see the scarves, wonder what it’s about, and want to join.”

Now that movement has grown from just scarves to any item that will keep people warm for the winter.

“I am teaching my kids that you are young and blessed, so you always want to reach back and try to be a blessing to someone else. You should try to help those who are less fortunate and always give back,” Blackman said.

Donations can be dropped off in Room 219D on the second floor of the Student Services Center on the UA Little Rock campus. For more information, contact Blackman at tlblackman@ualr.edu or 501-569-8525.

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