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 at a coat drive or donation site near you? 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 a 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 appreciate it.
Once you have your pile of coats ready to go, check out these coat drives and donation sites near you that will happily take them off your hands.
1. The Salvation Army
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
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
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.
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
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.
6. Coats 4 Kids
With collections all year round, Coats 4 Kids accepts warm layers for families in Western New York at a number of donation sites that can be found on their website. Started by Colvin Cleaners, Coats 4 Kids now spans well beyond their initial scope to make sure that all families, no matter what their level of need, are taken care of come winter.
7. Housing Works
Housing Works has locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn and is always accepting donations not only of coats, but all other gently used clothing (and furniture) as well. Sales from Housing Works items provide meals and housing for those affected by HIV/AIDS.
8. Bottomless Closet
Bottomless Closet focuses on making sure that women have the proper wardrobe for their professional careers. And while that could mean anything from khakis to suiting, winters always call specifically for coats that will allow them to travel to their places of business with warmth, even through the most brutal days of the season.
9. The Bowery Mission
First launched in 1870 to serve homeless New Yorkers, The Bowery Mission is still alive and well, with the same aim. With a few different locations around the city that accept different categories of apparel and food for those in need, winter especially calls for heavy coats, hats, scarves, and the like.
10. Dress for Success
Dress for Success has an aim to empower women through their wardrobe and make sure that they have everything they need to succeed in the professional world, from mentoring to attire. And with donations accepted across all clothing categories, winter in the Northeast provides particular need for coats, jackets, and other warm weather accessories.
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