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Many families like to stress the idea of charity during the holidays, but this year being what it is they may feel the need to pull back from charitible giving this year.

There's one event coming up that won't cost your family a dime -- the 3rd Annual Coat Exchange scheduled for Black Friday (known as "Buy Nothing Day" in activist circles) November 28, 2008 will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Library Square downtown. Bring your outgrown or no longer needed coats. You can exchange them for another coat, or just leave your coats for someone who may need them. You can also pick up a coat without bringing one to exchange if you want. Coats left at the end of the day will be donated to Crossroads Urban Center.

This is a great re-enforcement activity for my youngest. We've been reading the American Girl book series, and we started with Kit who lived during the time of the Great Depression. Kit and her friends toward the end of the series gather coats and shoes to donate to a soup kitchen where many homeless families seek food and warmth during the winter. I love the idea of being able to do something physically that mirrors the idea that we've read about.

Deanna Taylor of Dee's 'Dotes founded the event here in Utah. From the press release:

The 3rd Annual Community Coat Exchange promotes principles of community and reusing the day after Thanksgiving.

Every year people all over the United States spend the day after Thanksgiving getting ready for the holiday season by patronizing retail businesses for gift buying. “We perceived a need for a project for the same day that would be useful and meaningful, as well as educational,” states Deanna Taylor, founder of the Utah event. “The event focuses on concerns about the ecological and psychological consequences of our consumer culture and the impact of our consumerism on society.”

To that end, a new community-oriented project was born: The Community Coat Exchange. Patterned after a similar event in Rhode Island, the Coat Exchange is a collection and distribution of winter coats and other winter clothing items. The event is held every year the day after Thanksgiving from 10am to 3pm at the Downtown Salt Lake City Library Plaza.

Taylor reflects about last year's event: “What made it all worthwhile was being able to give coats away to folks from all socioeconomic levels. Well off folks took coats, driving home the concept of reusing; Families with children that had been referred to us by a local social agency came and took coats. Men, young and old, dressed in very thin, practically sleeveless, clothes came looking for warm clothing. Folks couldn’t believe that the coats were free. The looks on their faces were priceless. When we explained the coat exchange to people, they went home and brought back more.”

People have been bringing donations to City Academy, a Utah Public Charter School and Community Coat Exchange Partner/drop off center. Coats can be dropped off there any weekday before Thanksgiving (555 East 200 South). People can also bring their coats to the event itself.

At the event, no questions are asked: If you need a coat, come get one. If you want to exchange a coat, bring the coat you want to donate and take one in exchange. If you have a donation of coats, we know people who can use them.

Left over coats are donated to the Crossroads Urban Center Thrift Store, a project of the Crossroads Urban Center which advocates for low income and homeless people. The Crossroads Urban Center Thrift Store gives clothes away to poor people and also sells clothes and other goods in its retail shop to the general public to help fund the Crossroads Urban Center programs.

More information: info@coatexchange.org or 801-631-2998 -


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC)
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