Thousands of Central Texas children received their winter coats through Coats for Kids last weekend. The Junior League of Austin organized this coat drive, one of the largest in the country. Over 32,000 coats were distributed in 2014, and even more were expected to be given away this year.
A project of this magnitude takes a lot of community participation, so last week I participated in a Sorting Day with about 30 other volunteers, including a group of Dell employees. Our first assignment was to sort through the over-sized boxes of donations that had been collected at Jack Brown Cleaners and other drop-off sites over the past month.
We were instructed to neatly hang the donated jackets, sweatshirts, and coats on white wire hangers. New and gently-used “puffy” ski jackets were grouped separately. These were the coats that were to be handed out on Saturday’s Distribution Day.
Any other coats in good condition were hung on Surplus racks. A Junior League volunteer said that local non-profits would be invited to “shop” the Surplus racks and to take what they needed for their clients. Soiled coats went into a separate box to be sent to Jack Brown for cleaning before distribution.
We were instructed to put everything else into black rolling bins. I found children’s clothes, hats, and mittens—all went into these bins for donation to The Salvation Army.
Our second assignment was to separate the puffy coats by size (Infant to Men’s XXL). Full racks of sorted puffy coats were pushed to one side of the cavernous Palmer Events Center, ready to be rolled out on Distribution Day.
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