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Collecting coats for the community

Organizers with a group in Susquehanna County are preparing for a coat distribution and are in need of winter items to give to those in need.

MONTROSE, Pa. — The storage rooms below St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Montrose are beginning to fill with racks, bags, and boxes filled with winter clothing.

Each year, Dan Graham and John Finlon spend months preparing for the Susquehanna County Coats for Our Community Distribution, collecting or purchasing winter items to give out to those in need.

"It seems like everybody needs a coat in the wintertime, especially the little kids. It's always good for your heart to see somebody come and give them a coat and a smile and say thank you," John said.

Six distribution events will be held between October 12 and December 16 in different locations around Susquehanna County.

Donations of new or gently used coats, hats, and gloves are collected, sorted into categories, and put into totes. Organizers say they could use more.

"We never seem to have enough kid's coats or large women's coats. And what we found out was that women will wear men's large coats, but men won't wear large women's coats, so we're always short on those. We look for those," Graham said.

This is the 15th year of the coat drive, and organizers say they're still surprised, year after year, how many people need something as simple as a jacket.

"Last year, with COVID, we gave out 1,200 or more. The year before was I think 1,600, but it seems like lately the last few years it's well above 1,000," Finlon said.

If you'd like to donate, you can bring them to St. Paul's or the Pivot Physical Therapy office in Montrose. Organizers say they're always in need of volunteers to help at the distribution events as well.

Coats are scheduled to be distributed at the following locations:

  • St. Paul's Church, Montrose, October 12, 13
  • Musta/Stiles VFW Post 6723, Great Bend, October 15, 16
  • Christ Church, Susquehanna, October 22, 23
  • Christ Church, Forest City, October 28, 29, 30
  • St. Marks, New Milford, November 1, 2
  • St. Paul's Church, Montrose, December 15, 16