Political Groups Aid Homeless

In the spirit of the season, the Harvard-Radcliffe College Democrats and the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance have temporally set aside their political differences in order to work together to help the homeless.

"We got together for the greater good of helping people," said William D. Zerhouni '97-'98-'97, president of the Republican Alliance. "This wasn't really a political issue to any of us."

For the past three nights, members of both groups have been tabling at various houses and the Freshman Union collecting warm clothes and money.

The money will be donated to the St. lames Homeless Transitional Program. The clothing will be given to the University Lutheran Shelter, said co-director of the St. James Summer Shelter Elana M. Oberstein '97.

Each summer, 12 homeless people live in the St. James shelter for two months and are provided with three locals a day, a T-pass and one-on-one counseling as a transition from being homeless, Oberstein said.


Seth D. Hanlon '98, the president of College Democrats, said the money and clothing drive has been effective so far.

"It's been pretty successful," Hanlon said. "We've received about $20 at each location plus a couple of boxes of clothes [overall]."

Regardless of the tangible success of the drive, though, Oberstein said she thinks it is "wonderful" that political organizations have taken initiative to help the homeless.

"I am fully indebted to the great-spirit that has come from the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance and the Harvard Democrats," she said.

On Sunday night, club members tabled at Leverett House and Quincy House, Monday night they tabled at the Freshman Union, Cabot House and Kirkland House, last night, they tabled at Currier House, the Union and Lowell House.

Zerhouni said the club tentatively plans to turn the gifts over to St. James tomorrow night, after visiting the University Lutheran Shelter.

University Lutheran is funded by the federal government whereas St. James relics on private donations. Due to the fluxuation of private funds. Oberstein said donations are greatly needed.

Student reactions varied over the charity drive.

"I think it's great that they are doing it [at the Union] to make people more conscious and aware," Heather B. Gormon '99 said. "It's good symbol of unity to have it bi-partisan."

Another student did not share this enthusiasm, though.

"At first I thought they were going to be recruiting," said Swaine I. Ches '96. "I was already past by the time I saw them, so I didn't bother going back. I thought it was going to be something political."