Donations down for Janesville Salvation Army coat drive
Clothes distribution happens Saturday
JANESVILLE, Wis. — Salvation Army volunteers spent Tuesday morning folding and sorting winter clothes donations but say they have much fewer donations this year compared to previous years.
“This year we are the lowest that we’ve ever been,” said Diane Barry, who has volunteered for the coat drive for the past four years. “Other years we’ve just had tables and tables filled with stuff.”
Volunteers aren’t exactly sure why there were fewer donations this year but think the warmer temperatures might have played a role.
“I think maybe because of the weather, people haven’t been thinking about winter coats,” Barry said.
She and other volunteers laid out knitted hats and gloves on tables and rearranged the winter coats hanging on racks. Many only had a few coats hanging on them, so the volunteers consolidated and took away several racks.
Barry said normally, they would have boxes and bags of extra donations under the tables to replenish throughout the day when they host their distribution, but this year, there are barely any extras underneath.
“We would have at least four or six tables filled, and we only have maybe two or three,” Barry said. “So that shows you how much it is down.”
Volunteers are most in need of waterproof gloves, snow pants in all sizes and winter coats for boys size 10-12. The Salvation Army asks people to drop off new or gently used items that are clean at the building located at 514 Sutherland Avenue in Janesville.
“We rely on donations,” Barry said. “It means a lot that if you can give a warm jacket to a child, or even an adult, knowing that they’re going to be warm this winter, that means a lot.”
Barry said the Salvation Army will accept donations through Thursday morning at the latest. Originally, the donation cutoff was Wednesday.
If they don’t get enough donations, volunteers will buy new items with money left over from last year.
The Salvation Army hosts its Coats for Kids distribution on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. People in need don’t have to sign up beforehand but do need to bring any children with them to try on the clothes. The children get a jacket, snow pants, boots, waterproof gloves, knitted gloves, a scarf and a hat and adults get a jacket and sweatshirt.
“This is really heartwarming when you see them come in and they spy a jacket that they love and sometimes they’ll put it on and keep it on and just run around with it,” Barry said about the children who come to pick out their winter clothes.
Barry said any donations that are left over will be stored for next year’s drive.
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