AUSTIN - As many of us cuddled up warm in our homes Monday morning, hundreds of homeless lined up outside the First Baptist Church in downtown Austin.
The wind whipped, the cold air biting their cheeks. Each person waited patiently to go indoors.
"Oh it's cold,” said Eli Cardill.
Monday, Cardil was happy to pick up a few essentials.
"Happy new year,” said Cardill to one of the volunteers as he picked up a pair of gloves.
He has been homeless for a few months.
"I'm a veteran, being homeless, I don't like it, and hopefully I get back on my feet again,” said Cardil.
Richard Troxell is the Founder of House the Homeless.
"We're trying to protect people, or as we say 'winterize' them,” said Troxell. "What we're doing is we're winterizing people with thermal tops, thermal bottoms, knit hats, gloves, socks, safety whistle, and reusable rain poncho."
For the 17th year in a row, they're giving out hats, gloves, scarves, socks and thermals.
"You know, people give away blankets and sleeping bags and that stuff. They get wet, and they get stashed, and they get put in the trash by somebody who finds them. This stuff they just wear, they wear it till spring, and it saves their life,” said Troxell.
Each fall, Troxell reads off a list of the men and women who were homeless and died that previous year. For 25 years he’s been reading that list. He doesn’t want to add any new names.
"There's thousands of homeless people in Austin, and they get left out, stuck on the streets, so we're trying to take care of them,” said Troxell.
Jonna Beaver and her son are volunteering.
"It gives us the opportunity to start the year off right, giving back to others,” said Beaver.
They're giving the gift of warmth.
"It's not cold very long in Austin, but on days like today, it's just awful, so imagine something out there without anything warm, it's just unfortunate,” said Beaver. "Make sure they have something to keep them warm especially on a day like today when it's really cold out."
Mitch Braddy is also handing out a little warmth.
"You need to stay warm in this crazy bitter cold,” said Braddy. "It's refreshing to know stuff like that's going on."
Paul Williams has been struggling with homelessness for about a year.
"Man, my feet were freezing last night,” said Williams.
He’s glad to stop by this event.
"It was honestly something I need,” said Williams. "You take the gratitude to say, express how you feel, it could help someone's day maybe I'm just very appreciative and thankful."
Each day, Williams works to have an upbeat spirit.
"One of the things I have learned, is you know walking around with a sour face it’s not going to change the situation, so you be vibrant, so you know you be happy and cheerful, and the things around your will change for the positive,” said Williams.
A spirit that you can see in Williams and Cardil, men who appear to have so little and are only getting a few essentials, but they still want to give back to others.
"If I see someone cold I'll go ahead and give them a hat or something,” said Williams.
"There was an old man who was sitting in the ARCH, he had no jacket, I give my jacket to him,” said Cardil.
In 2018, Cardil has hope for change.
"It's going to be different,” said Cardil.
A new year, starting off with generosity, thanksgiving, and a fresh start.
© 2018 KVUE-TV