GFWC Winter Clothing Drives
December 1, 2017
Winter is around the corner and temperatures are beginning to drop. In preparation, GFWC clubs have been busy collecting coats for anyone who might not have the proper attire to keep warm and safe this winter, including homeless individuals, low-income students, and victims of domestic violence.
Every year the Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club (Kentucky) partners with the Bowling Green Police Department to host a coat drive. This year they kicked off their 26th annual Coats for Kids drive on October 1st and will be collecting coats until December 1st. Last year, the club collected over 1,500 coats for kids, teens, and adults in their community.
The club works with the city and school resource directors to get a list of their needs in each school. They collect new and gently used coats, bringing the used coats to local drycleaners who clean them at no charge. In addition to physical coats, the club also accepts monetary donations, all of which go directly to purchasing new coats for the schools so no child will be cold. This year they raised $5,000!
Once they’ve distributed coats to the schools, the remaining coats are displayed at the club’s community wide coat distribution day so that anyone can stop by and get a free coat. The club works with the Salvation Army, Hotel Inc., and BRASS, who come to the distribution day and take any leftover coats to their offices to distribute to those who need them throughout the winter.
The Salem Woman’s Service Club (Oregon) has found an alternative to hosting a coat drive. For the past three years they have partnered with a children’s clothing consignment store to pick up all of their unsold items each month, which includes coats, sweaters, and other warm clothing. They donate the clothes to non-profits in their community who give them directly to children and families in the area who need them. Rather than let those unused items waste away, the club makes sure they get put to good use.
With heated homes and coats to bundle into when we leave those homes, we often take for granted that we can stay warm in the winter. But too many people experience freezing temperatures without winter wear, and that can be dangerous and life-threatening in harsh conditions and severe storms. With every coat or sweater that GFWC clubs collect, that’s one more person who can better survive the winter. If your club doesn’t have a winter clothing collection project, consider it for next year! Even if you don’t have an event in place yet, look into your closet to find coats and other clothing you can donate to make sure everyone can beat the cold this winter.
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Mary Lou Parks
For accomplished author and GFWC clubwoman Mary Lou Parks, writing her club history, HerStory, was a journey that formed lasting friendships and a new perspective on women’s history.
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