When winter hits Boston, the harsh weather can affect all areas of city life, but the most vulnerable community is the city’s homeless population.
More than 20,000 people in Massachusetts experienced homelessness last winter, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. While there are shelters, many close during the day, leaving the homeless out in the cold.
Tavis Eaton, an ex-marine, musician and the founder of the movement he calls Hoodies for the Homeless, aims to help those homeless people, one sweatshirt at a time.
“Way back when I was a kid, this homeless gentleman used to sleep three doors down from my front door [in New York] on a subway grate to stay warm during the winter,” Eaton said. “I used to see him every morning when I would leave, and one day he just wasn’t there… I knew in my heart that he didn’t make it.”
Eaton pursued a career in music, starting his band PushMethod about six years ago, but the story was always in the back of his mind. Last year, he combined his passions by asking everyone who attends his band’s shows to bring an extra hoodie they could donate to a shelter.
“People can listen to music, but if you take music and turn it into physical action, then you’re really making a statement,” he said.
In Feb 2015, Eaton got more than 500 hoodies at just one show. In all, he’s helped collect more than 5,000 hoodies for the homeless in New York, and now he’s setting his sights on Boston.
PushMethod is playing a show Thursday at the Arnold Worldwide building—an ad agency owned by the Havas Group, a creative company that has taken on Hoodies for the Homeless as a client thanks to Eaton’s push and connections.
Eaton and company are also hosting an afterparty at Kingston Grille and Bar at 25 Kingston Street with the aim to collect as many hoodies as possible for Boston’s homeless population. That event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. and feature music by PushMethod and DJ Holtie.
“We like to think we made it easy for everybody to go in their closet and grab hoodies that they’ve been meaning to donate and haven’t gotten to yet,” Eaton said. “We give them reason to do it. Grab hoodies and come to a show.”