MESA, AZ — “We’re going to start everything through here and fill all this up,” said Sean Yeager walking the parking lot at The Monastery, a restaurant and music venue in Mesa. This Saturday, the location is set to host a car show and donation drive close to his heart.
“We’re not put on this planet to judge people, we’re put on this planet to help people,” said Sean.
For the second year in a row, he is organizing an event called Hoodies for the Homeless. Inspired to make a difference by his mother who found herself homeless after being shot in the head during an armed robbery, Sean says she was never the same.
“She had mental problems and she didn’t want to get better, she didn’t want to do anything other than live on the street cause that’s all she knew, that’s where she was comfortable at,” said Sean.
While he couldn’t help her, he is helping hundreds of others stay warm this winter. On any given day, nearly 11,000 people are living on the streets in Arizona due to mental and physical disabilities, job loss, and numerous other reasons.
“In a matter of a week, a lot of people could be homeless, most people live paycheck-to-paycheck unless you're wealthy, and even then, something could happen and you could be on the streets within weeks, months, and then you're gonna wonder where the help is,” said Sean.
In 2020, Sean collected hundreds of warm clothes for homeless families, after which he and his team traveled around the Valley, handing them out personally and listening to their stories.
“The reward mentally is beyond belief really,” said Sean.
This year, anchored by a car show and live music at the Mesa venue, he hopes to do even better.
“We’re a mom and pop too so we just want to make sure everybody’s good, happy, safe, and warm,” said Monastery manager Monica Hovland, adding they’re already receiving boxes of sweatshirts.
It’s a fairly simple idea to make a world of difference right in our own backyard. The event takes place Saturday, running from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There is a cover charge for the event, but all the money raised will go towards purchasing clothing, sleeping bags, and other essential items to be delivered directly to the homeless population.
Donations of new or used hoodies, jackets, beanies, scarves, gloves, blankets, and other warm items can be donated at the restaurant before and during the event.