As cold weather settles over Eastern Oregon, there are plenty of ways people can make sure their gently used coats can go to good use.
The Agape House in Hermiston takes winter coats, which can be dropped off at the building at 500 W. Harper Road from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. The nonprofit assists people with basic needs such as emergency food boxes and showers for the homeless, and will be hosting a coat giveaway on Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Businesses often host coat drives during the winter to donate to nonprofits that distribute them to those in need. Simmons Insurance Agency is currently hosting a coat drive for the Agape House. Coats can be dropped off at any Simmons Insurance location between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Desert Rose Ministries, which also assists the homeless and down-and-out, takes coat donations of all sizes from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 512 E. Main St. in Hermiston.
“We can use just about anything donated,” Jim Robinson said.
For many people, going without a coat might mean some discomfort while running between the car and the house. But Robinson said Desert Rose Ministries makes contact with a lot of homeless Hermiston residents who don’t have a place to escape the wind or snow. He said the nonprofit is also trying to get a second hand store started and can take donations of items like blankets and tarps that will help those who are living out in the elements stay warm during the winter.
Coats can also be an issue at schools, where children are sent outside each day for recess.
Maria Duron, communications officer for Hermiston School District, said coats are handled on a school-by-school basis. Some schools do official coat drives for students in need, while others just handle whatever donations may be dropped off. Some schools also apply for grants from the Oregon Education Foundation to purchase new coats for students who don’t have one, or work with the CARE (Community Access for Resource Effectiveness).
Stanfield Public Library will be hosting a coat-swapping opportunity again this year. Librarian Cecily Longhorn said she came up with the idea a few years ago because so many people in Stanfield walk everywhere, and there didn’t seem to be anywhere else in town where people in need could get a coat, or parents could swap coats that their children barely wore before outgrowing. She said she wasn’t sure if she would do it again this year but there were a lot of people who were interested in making sure it continued. She said people can drop off coats any time, but the coat rack won’t be up in the library until Nov. 1, after the library’s fall festival on Oct. 28.
“We ask that people bring in clean, gently used coats that are still in good condition,” she said.
In Pendleton, people can bring in coats to the front office of Pendleton High School or the Salvation Army at 105 S.E. Emigrant Ave. to contribute toward a Coats for Kids event on Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.