Handing out warmth this winter

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Most Virginians like to think of themselves as Southerners, but the fact is that every winter, we are reminded that our state is, in fact, too far north.

Yes, that’s right — we’re too far north to enjoy 80-degree Christmases every year, too far north to visit the beach in January and sun ourselves under rows of palm trees and definitely too far north to avoid owning a coat.

The winters in Hampton Roads typically aren’t too brutal, but the bitter cold does settle in for at least a few weeks most winters, and a coat is a necessity for anyone during these weeks.

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Owning a coat, however, is out of reach for many in our community. A good winter coat is an expensive proposition when one is already struggling to provide, and the price tag goes up with multiple members of the family. Those who are homeless are even more in need.

Indeed, owning a coat is an everyday luxury that so many of us do not even realize is a luxury. Those who cannot afford one are left out in the cold, literally.

Thankfully, though, many community organizations and churches each year gather gently used coats to donate to others. One of those efforts is WAVY News 10’s Coats for Families, which has donation sites across the region and also has a couple of distribution sites in Suffolk.

The partnership also includes Albano Cleaners, which ensures that every coat is thoroughly cleaned and fresh before being given to its new owner, and Harrison’s Moving & Storage and Hiram Lodge take care of the delivery.

Oak Grove Baptist Church held its distribution last week. This week, ForKids is a distribution location for 125 coats for men, women and children.

The service agency for those who are homeless is using its new Suffolk building Tuesday and Wednesday of this week for the distribution.

“We’re able to be a distribution site for coats that have been donated throughout the community, to make sure that Suffolk citizens are able to have coats during what may be a long winter,” ForKids Chief Services Officer Sarah Johnson said Tuesday morning, “and we are especially concerned about the folks that are homeless or on the streets that are very vulnerable in this type of weather. We’re excited to be able to utilize our new building. It’s a really accessible site for people to come and get their coats.”

There will be other coat giveaways throughout the first few weeks of winter, but we give a special shoutout to WAVY, ForKids and all the other partners in this coat giveaway for being among the first to distribute warmth this winter.