December Coat Drive: Gwynedd Gives Warmth

December Coat Drive: Gwynedd Gives Warmth

Alexis Kelerchian, Writer

Partnering with Gwynedd’s Leadership Department, Ava Kolp ’24 will be coordinating a coat drive during the month of December leading into Christmas break – November 29th to December 17th. The donations from Ava’s drive will directly contribute to the work of One Warm Coat, a nonprofit organization that provides free coats for children and adults in need and promotes volunteerism and environmental sustainability.

Integrated into this year’s Critical Concern of Environment, the coat drive works in tandem with the nonprofit’s mission to perpetuate environmental sustainability in clothing amidst current textile waste practices and increased manufactured carbon emissions. About 60%, or 3 out of 5 pieces, of clothing, end up in a landfill every year. The fashion industry produces more annual carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping together. One Warm Coat works to keep around 1 million pounds of clothes out of landfills per year.

One Warm Coat attempts to aid in the clothing of the global community and combat cold-induced poor health effects. Cold weather makes the body work harder, putting stress on the heart to ensure the body stays warm. A 2015 study found up to a 31% increase in heart attacks in the coldest months of the year compared with the warmest. Children are unable to regulate their body temperatures as adults do and can quickly develop hypothermia without protection from the cold. Exposure to cold predisposes people, especially children, to infections like pneumonia. One Warm Coat recognizes that such health effects are directly related to poverty. Before the pandemic, 1 in 6 children, 39 million Americans, and 1.5 million veterans were living in poverty, and 1 in 3 senior households were barely able to pay their monthly bills. The numbers continue to rise, especially as families and individuals alike attempt to navigate a post-pandemic society and economy. In response to the clothing needs of our local and global brethren, Warm Coat collects and distributes coats to those who don’t have any; in reusing coats, the nonprofit helps to keep coats out of landfills, lowers supply demands on companies, and subsequently reduces carbon emissions, and helps provides coats for families who may otherwise struggle to purchase them. One Warm Coat’s mission fundamentally pairs perfectly with the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: defending the basic right to protection from the cold and providing coats to people in need- free of charge and without discrimination or obligation – treating the people served with dignity and respect, promoting sustainability through the reuse and repurposing of outerwear, creating connections in local communities by fostering volunteerism, and appreciating and honoring their volunteers and donors.

Any gently used coats will be accepted for the donation drive. Donated coats should be gently used at most, which means they must have no holes or stains but can be previously used. Any type of coat is accepted, including raincoats, winter coats, sweatshirts, etc. Coats of any size or gender will be accepted. The Gwynedd community is asked to look in their closets for their used coats and contribute to Ava’s coat drive. During this holiday season, you can give the gift of one warm coat!