How To Donate Winter Coats To Someone Who Needs Them More Than You

Though it got off to a slow start, the chill of winter has finally arrived. While many of us look at a coat as an item that is meant to keep us warm, cozy, and stylish, there are plenty of less fortunate people who don't even have that basic necessity. How can you donate winter coats to those in need? It's actually really easy to give your gently used (or even a brand new) coat to someone who could desperately use it.

Donating a winter coat is basically a no-effort way to do a good and charitable deed for someone else. Just make sure that it's in good, wearable condition and that you have cleaned out the pockets. Ideally, you'll even dry clean it before passing the coat on to its new owner, though most places won't require it.

If you're on the fence about whether or not to donate, first a peek in the closet: If you have any coats you haven't worn for years that are just taking up extra space, it's probably time to pass it on. Then, ask yourself this: "Could I still wear this jacket if I wasn't going to donate it?" If the answer is "yes," then it is still in quality condition and you should absolutely give it away to someone who will get better use out of it.

Once you have your pile of coats ready to go, check out these places that will happily take them off your hands.

1. The Salvation Army

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Salvation Army has its annual Coats for Kids drive. You can enter your zip code to locate a local coat drive. If there are none nearby, you can donate gently used or new coats to Salvation Army Family Stores.

2. One Warm Coat

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The organization, started in 1992, is dedicated to providing a warm coat, free of charge, to anyone who needs it. If you no longer need a coat, don't toss it. Give it to One Warm Coat. You can enter your zip code online in order to find places to donate.

3. New York Cares

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If you live in NYC, this is probably the easiest method for you. There are nearly 300 dropoff locations in the city, so there is likely one in walking distance for Manhattanites who want to support New York Cares. With so many homeless people in need, this warms my heart.

4. Operation Warm

If you don't have any spare coats to give but want to do more with some of that extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, you can work with Operation Warm which has provided nearly 2 million coats to children in the U.S. You essentially donate money for new winter coats, which allow a child in need to develop newfound freedom and confidence to play, learn, and do more. Over 20 percent of the organization's coats are made in America, as well!

5. Burlington Coat Factory's Warm Coats & Warm Hearts

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Discount retailer Burlington Coat Factory sponsors the Warm Coats & Warm Hearts Coat Drive, which is a partnership between Good Morning America and K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers. The campaign relies on the generosity and compassion of customers, who can drop off gently worn coats at all stores. The company then works to distribute the coats. You also get 10 percent off a purchase when you donate!

Happy donating!

Images: Luke Pamer/Unsplash