By Julianne Heberlein
The City of College Park partnered with national non-profit One Warm Coat to organize their annual coat drive from Nov. 13 to Dec. 11.
So far, the city’s Department of Youth, Family and Senior Services has collected about 150 coats for children, adults and families in need within the College Park area, said Director Peggy Higgins. Last year, the drive collected over 200 coats, hats and gloves.
Higgins said that since the winter weather has been fairly warm, that could have attributed to why fewer coats have been donated.
“We aren’t finished until Wednesday, but we’re grateful for whatever amount of donations we get because there are families out there who need them,” said Higgins. “People have been extremely generous by buying brand new coats and donating coats that are in great condition.”
Donations are being collected during business hours in designated boxes at College Park City Hall, the Department of Public Works, Youth and Family Services and the Department of Public Services.
Higgins and College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn said they anticipate the coat drive to continue in future years.
“The city first started doing our own coat drive to promote charitable giving around the holidays, and we originally distributed the coats directly to local schools,” said Wojahn. “But we started looking into different opportunities and found that One Warm Coat does a lot of administrative work for you, like distributing the coats to families in need, so it really helps us.”
Senior computer science major Alex Panagopoulos lives in Old Town College Park, but hadn’t heard about the coat drive.
“I know a lot of students who I think would be willing to donate, but outreach could’ve been better since many of us didn’t know about it,” said Panagopoulos. “This coat drive shows that the city really cares about its residents.”
One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that provides free warm coats to people in need without charge, discrimination or obligation. The non-profit provides resources to individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country to hold coat drives. Since 1992, One Warm Coat has worked with volunteers to host over 27,000 coat drives and has distributed over 5 million coats.
“I think people really appreciate the opportunity to give back and support needy families throughout the holidays,” said Wojahn.