It’s the most wonderful time of the year… well, almost. We all have a million things to think about on any given day, but at this time of year, everyone’s stress level tends to escalate. All the average college student has to do is shop for an overwhelming number of relatives with maxed out credit cards, wrap gifts, finalize travel plans (or start bookmarking Netflix shows for a much needed Winter Break binge), attempt to have some semblance of a social life and, oh yeah, spend every waking minute in the library finishing papers or cramming for finals that might save the semester’s GPA.

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But take a second to imagine what it would be like if instead of sipping Starbucks in the library and worrying about whether or not your paper’s thesis even makes sense, your main concerns had to do with finding a meal, staying warm and avoiding frostbitten fingers and toes as the temperature plummets and finding a place to sleep each night. Pretty scary. These are questions that over half a million homeless people face in America every day. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, on a single night in January 2014, 578,424 people were experiencing homelessness across the country.

That number might seem overwhelming, so let’s look at the example of, say, our Nation’s capital. As candidates battle for the nation’s attention and votes, Washington D.C. has one of the highest rates of homelessness across the entire country, with a rate of about 120 homeless people per 10,000 residents. I’m no math major, but that’s over 7,500 people that will be out on the streets at some point this winter. And for those of us that live and go to school in D.C., you don’t have to venture too far from campus to see the overwhelming amount of people in need of help. While D.C. law requires that the city provide shelter for all homeless residents when temperatures drop below freezing, many of them remain on the streets, often both hungry and dangerously unequipped for the weather conditions.

  Swizzler, a D.C.-based gourmet hot dog truck, is hoping food might be just the way to draw attention to this problem and make an impact this holiday season. Swizzler’s “Swizz the Season” campaign will enlist the help of their fans across D.C.’s college campuses and around the city, hoping that the Swizz Tribe will rally for the cause. Over the next couple of weeks, they will be collecting clothing and donations at the truck, donating a percentage of their sales to the cause and launching a holiday-themed Swizzler dog. They will also be matching Facebook shares about the campaign with donations of extra pairs of warm socks to get more people engaged online and encouraging people to donate to their Tilt page for the project. They are teaming up with D.C.’s Coalition For the Homeless and some other great community-based organizations to ensure that every dollar and item of clothing donated is put to good use. 

For those of you in D.C., be sure to track down the Swizz Mobile between now and December 21st to have a Swizzler and help give back. For everybody else, take a second out of your crazy week of finals to think about all those people that aren’t lucky enough to have a home to go back to this holiday season. If you can, consider donating to Swizzler’s Tilt page and help someone stay warm this winter. ‘Swizz the season for giving.

Happy Holidays Spooners!