By Michelle McChristie

In early October, local outdoor store, Gear Up, launched their 16th annual Spread the Warmth Winter Coat Drive. They are collecting coats, accessories and sleeping bags which are donated to Precious Bundles, Shelter House, Grace Place and the S.O.S Team (Street Outreach Service operated by Shelter House) for distribution.

“As the weather steadily gets colder, those who cannot find overnight accommodations are unfortunately forced to sleep outdoors,” says Gear Up’s Sheri Scocchia. “Even during the day with the cold temperatures, there is always a risk of hyperthermia and frostbite. By helping out with coats and sleeping bags, these individuals would hopefully find some warmth from the elements.”

Last year, Gear Up donated over 1,100 items with help from the community. Owner Jon Wynn asks that people “check your closets for any jackets, coats and sleeping bags.” He also notes that “The Old Farmer’s Almanac and weather predictors are calling for an extremely bitter cold winter and lots of snow.”

As with last year, drop-off is contactless which makes for a more efficient collection process while keeping people safe.

Here is the process:
Wash coats, jackets, and sleeping bags & place each item in a separate clear plastic bag
Mark the gender and size on each bag
Drop off at Gear Up ~ right side entrance door
In the store, you will receive a 10% discount on the purchase of a new winter jacket and a change to win one of six $100 gift cards, courtesy of The Keg Steakhouse & Bar (winners will be notified on Monday, December 19)

Gear Up will donate winter clothing and accessories, such as mitts and toques, to Precious Bundles—a community oriented, non-profit organization that accept donations of quality second-hand children’s clothing, toys, books and baby items and redistributes them to families in need

Shelter House will have a donation box located at Gear Up’s front counter for any monetary donations.

The coat drive runs until December 16, 2022. For more information and updates, visit Gear Up’s blog.