Warm Coats for Neighbors in Need

(Kathy Enzerink)
Cathy Goshorn, with the Orinda Association and Seniors Around Town program, is loaded to the top of her COVID-19 mask with 11 new children’s coats donated by a savvy shopper who purchased them at Costco, using discounts and savings offers, for less than $100. New and clean, gently worn coats are accepted through Dec. 16.

    “Baby it’s cold outside…” and the chilly temperatures started long before Dec. 21, the official first day of winter. ‘Tis the season of staying warm and protected from winter weather elements, especially the cold. As part of One Warm Coat, The Orinda Association is collecting new and clean, gently worn coats for those in need.
    Now in its sixth year of collecting coats in a donation box outside the office at 26 Orinda Way (first floor below the library), program chair and OA Board Member Kate Wiley said the focus of coat donations has changed due to COVID-19 health restrictions: “New and squeaky-clean coats are the priority this year.” When donating a used coat, the Center for Disease Control recommends washing items in the warmest appropriate setting and drying completely.
    New and dry-cleaned, in the bag coats will be distributed to Contra Costa families by the nonprofit White Pony Express, founded by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner in 2013. “We believe we’re all part of one human family and when one of us moves forward, everyone does,” she said. “We work to help bring people living on the margins into the mainstream.”
    Mission for the Homeless, in Oakland, will receive and distribute the used, gently-worn clean coats. Since 1999, the nonprofit organization visits approximately 120 unhoused people every night. Clean and warm are key as sometimes a coat is all a person has for warmth, day or night. The team of Mission volunteers hands out 60-90 coats per month.
    “This is not just about culling outwear from the closet,” said Wiley. “Our goal is bringing dignity to our neighbors in need with coats everyone would be proud to wear. When shopping this holiday season, consider buying an extra coat to donate.” She continued, “One bargain-hunter took advantage of special savings and discounts at Costco last month. She bought 11 coats, in sizes for boys and girls for less than $100!”
    The Orinda Association is accepting coat donations weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. through Dec. 16. Donations will be accepted at the Orinda Farmers’ Market on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.
    For more information about these locals programs and needs, visit www.orindaassociation.org, www.whiteponyexpress.org and www.missionforthehomeless.org.

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