A 3rd Annual David Josiah Lawson Coat Drive drop-off box sits next to the customer service desk at Arcata's North Coast Co-Op. | Photo by Skye Kimya

Spreading Warmth for Winter

Many organizations around Humboldt County provide warm clothing for little or no cost.
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Many organizations around Humboldt County provide warm clothing for little or no cost

With winter right around the corner, it’s important that less fortunate and displaced individuals have access to food, shelter and basic necessities.

Humboldt County has among the highest rates of homelessness in the state. With the steep temperature decline of the winter, coats, socks and warm clothes become an extreme necessity.

Robert Lohn, the founder of Coats for the Cold, one of the largest coat drives in the county, spoke on the need for warm clothes during the upcoming months.

“There’s a flock of families, individuals and couples who go to food banks and can’t afford food,” Lohn said. “Let alone warm clothing.”

Lohn started the movement 12 years ago with just 20 coats. Since then, the movement has gained major recognition from across the county to help collect, clean and store clothes that are redistributed to underprivileged children in schools. The amount of jackets received has greatly increased over the years, but Lohn still prioritizes spreading the word.

“The big picture is to show other parts of the community what we do, how we did it and how the other areas could do it as well,” Lohn said.

Coatsforthecold.org provides a lengthy list of drop-off locations ranging from McKinleyville to Garberville. Drop-off boxes are distributed at the beginning of December through to January.

“If anybody is in desperate need of a pair of pants or some shoes, and we have it, we will get it to them.”

Steven Thompson
St. Vincent de Paul Employee

A drop-off box for warm clothes was placed on the first floor of the Behavioral Social Sciences building on Monday, Dec. 2 and will remain there through January. Warm clothes to donate include: jackets, sweaters, pants, hats, blankets, socks and gloves. Backpacks are welcomed as well.

Another place to donate is the at the Third Annual David Josiah Lawson Coat Drive, which takes place on Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. on the Arcata Plaza.

The St. Vincent de Paul non-profit organization in Old Town Eureka is also a great resource for people who would like to donate, or are in need of daily necessities. They provide bag lunches and free clothing. They are open seven days a week, besides the first two weekends of the month.

Steven Thompson, a worker at St. Vincent’s, says there is no specific criteria needed in order to receive the items that are offered.

“If anybody is in desperate need of a pair of pants or some shoes, and we have it, we will get it to them,” Thompson said.

Not only do shelter and coat drives work for donating, but Angel’s of Hope Thrift Store is another place where people can donate their warm clothes.

According to employee Jasmine Oakshotte Angels of Hope is open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Oakshotte says that they have plenty of warm clothing, but it is the process of getting it out to the public that makes it difficult.

“It’s just about man power for us because we are a small group,” Oakshotte said. “There’s only four of us that price the stuff. So getting through it all, like we have bunches of it, it’s just that we have to get it out.”

Volunteers are more than welcome and will receive store credit by volunteering for the thrift store. They also have deals throughout the week for enrolled HSU students, including receiving half-off clothing Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

If you’re in need of warm clothes this winter, consider using the above organizations and stores around Humboldt County that provide them at either no cost or for very cheap.

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