As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the need to keep our neighbors in need warm, dry and healthy is more significant than ever. The simple pleasure of having a good fitting winter coat or even a coat at all is something that many take for granted.
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The temperatures can get dangerously cold in our community. No one should have to weather the chilly winter season without a proper coat. St. Vincent de Paul, WLWT, Warm98 and Gold Star remain committed to continuing their annual coat drive and distribution for the 20th year. However, just like anything else in 2020, the way this support is collected and then distributed to those in need has had to adjust to reflect these turbulent times.
With the help of WLWT, Warm98 and Gold Star Chili, St. Vincent de Paul began collecting coats in early October and will continue collecting coats through the end of January. This year, coat collection sites are limited to drop-offs at St. Vincent de Paul stores throughout Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. In Northern Kentucky, select community fire departments and local businesses, Arlinghaus Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning and Payroll Partners, have also joined the effort. A list of drop-off points can be found at www.svdpnky.org. Monetary donations are also appreciated to supplement material donations and can be made on the Gold Star and St. Vincent de Paul websites.
There is a particular need for children and plus size adult coats. Scarf It Up For Those In Need has donated additional hats, gloves/mittens and scarves again this year. Thanks to the generosity of the local community, St. Vincent de Paul Northern Kentucky distributed 2,000 donated coats to children and adults during distribution days last winter. This year’s goal is to distribute 2,200 in Northern Kentucky communities.
Typically, SVdP would host several events to distribute the coats. However, large gatherings are not advisable due to the threat of COVID-19. Instead, individuals in need of a coat can contact the St. Vincent de Paul helpline at 859-341-3219 to request a voucher to redeem for a coat in the Erlanger, Florence or Falmouth locations. Coats will be distributed through the network of stores through the end of February.
Finally, SVdP NKY is being joined by the Northern Kentucky Safety Net Alliance to provide more places to donate and to distribute to those in need. The Safety Net Alliance is expanding collection efforts to also include blankets, Hot Hands, gloves, scarves and hats to ensure that those who cannot make it to a SVdP store, such as the homeless, will be able to get the warm gear they need to be safe and healthy this winter. The Alliance is planning a drive through donation day for Sunday, December 6 from 11 until 2 at various Northern Kentucky locations. The St. Vincent de Paul Florence location at 7110 Turfway Road will be one of the collection sites participating in this event.