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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Local group collecting coats for those in need

As winter approaches, the Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County is making efforts to ensure individuals in Whatcom County have the proper clothing to stay warm during the cold season.

The coalition will be holding a coat drive in Bellingham on Saturday, Oct. 29. Donations for the coat drive can be dropped off at any Banner Bank in Bellingham or at the coalition’s office at 910 14th St.

The Interfaith Coalition first began the winter coat program in 1993, distributing 2,500 coats to families across Whatcom County that year. Since then, the program has distributed over 3,000 coats each year before the coldest part of the year.

“We could really use help from students. Anyone we can get.”

Interfaith Coalition Outreach Director Janie Pemble

Janie Pemble, outreach director for the Interfaith Coalition, has been collecting donations for the two distribution dates, by piling five bags of coats from one day of donations into the backseat of her car.

“We’re always amazed and grateful at how many people show up bringing things for people they don’t know,” Pemble said. “The level of caring is quite amazing and uplifting.”

Coats will be given to the homeless and low-income families that can’t afford to stay warm. Volunteers are needed at any of the coat drives.

“We could really use help from students,” Janie said. “Anyone we can get.”

Carolyn Roy, Interfaith Coalitions program coordinator, worked on the coat drive last year. Interfaith Coalition members contact school districts, local churches and social service agencies to get the word out about the coat drive for people in need.

“Everyone is in communication to what is going on,” Roy said.

Volunteers at the coat drive will be responsible for sorting coats and guiding families who may need help.

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