UPDATED 12/11/09 Minnesota is legendary for its brutal winters. Perhaps you’ve heard the running joke about Minnesota’s four seasons: not winter, almost winter, winter and still winter. What is not a joke is that thousands of people are in need of basic winter supplies, most urgent of these are warm hats, socks, coats and other winter clothing.
St. Paul teacher Bob Cudahy wrote in St. Paul’s E-Democracy Forum that a number of his students come to school without adequate winter clothing: “I had students show up today wearing tennis shoes and no socks. They weren’t making a “Remember How Cool Miami Vice Was?” fashion statement…..they don’t have socks.”
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Jackson Elementary School
Ames Elementary School
District 2 Community Council
Washington Technology Middle School
Wellstone Elementary School
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center
Cudahy and others were responding to a forum post by Paul Quigle, a teacher from Jackson Elementary School:”Right now our school urgently needs warm winter clothing for the children whose families are struggling to clothe them for the season. We are a pre-K to sixth-grade school, which means we really need winter clothes for kids from age four up to adult size.”
Mary Anderson from Joseph’s Coat in St. Paul says that as poverty increases she has seen the need for coats grow over the last couple of years. “We now serve between 100 and 150 people a day.”A non-profit free store, Joseph’s Coat accepts gently used seasonal clothing every Tuesday and Thursday. People in need of coats, gloves and hats come in on Mondays and Wednesdays and fill up a brown paper bag with as many pieces of clothing as they can. (They close for Christmas on December 21 and reopen two weeks later).
The Minnesota Council of Churches runs a refugee coat drive every winter. Dan Huynh who runs the program explains that refugees coming into Minnesota from other countries are ill-prepared for the winter. His program has served about 20 families since October this year and will continue issuing coats, gloves and boots throughout the winter as new families begin settling in Minnesota in its coldest months. Huynh says that they mostly need small to medium coats, children’s coats and boots for both children and adults.
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center’s Food Shelf at 100 North Oxford in St. Paul Reformation Church has a clothing closet. The Center donates both clothing and household items. They mostly need men’s and children’s items.
So if you have extra coats laying around please consider donations to the schools and organizations profiled here.
Please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment below if your school needs coat/gloves donations.