By: Amy Robinson
As winter and winter weather approach, The Salvation Army and other non-profits are preparing for winter coat and winter accessory season. At The Salvation Army, that means coat and accessory drives, coat closets or racks and coat vouchers for its family stores.
In Bowling Green, Kentucky, The Salvation Army gets coats mainly from individual donations, many of which it solicits through its Facebook page (where last winter it collected 200 in one day). It also has groups holding donation drives, especially as the season goes on.
At The Salvation Army in Bowling Green, there are coat racks outside the soup kitchens where those in need can pick one out. The sizes range from small child to adult.
“With the Facebook page, we’ll put out a note that we need coats, and the community really responds. The great thing about Bowling Green is that we really have a good community that listens to our needs and acts on them,” said Heather Gordon, social services director.
The Army began giving out coats from the rack outside the soup kitchens in mid-October.
In Clarksville, Tennessee, coats are supplied by several annual winter clothing drives by churches, the local military post, college sororities and fraternities and a local radio station.
While coats are the biggest winter item The Salvation Army receives donated, accessories like hats, gloves and scarves are also needed.
“Last year, we got over 120 coats,” social worker Brian Campbell said. “We had a lot of them donated not just for our residents at the shelter but also people in the community who need them. We opened our chapel one day, and anybody that needed a coat could come in and pick one out.”
In Johnson City, Tennessee, at least one group a year hosts a coat drive. Receptionist Jay Stoneking said this year the Cornerstone Village retirement community began hosting one at the beginning of this month, which will end at the end of November or the beginning of December.
“They basically want to collect new and gently used coats for children and families. They have three locations, where they’re collecting them,” he said, noting that the group held drives in the past, but it’s been a few years, so the people want to restart it.
The Sevierville, Tennessee, Salvation Army also received coat drive donations earlier this fall because the local Belk store bringing them just wanted to do that.
“They did a used coat drive right outside their store,” Captain Sarah Birks said. “We didn’t know they were doing that. They just brought them over one day – a little box full – and said, ‘We did this coat drive.’ It was SO nice of them! We weren’t expecting that at all.”
She said The Salvation Army doesn’t do coat drives because another non-profit there does and also if people need one from The Salvation Army, they will be given a voucher to the family store, where they can pick one out.