Whether you’ll be heading out on Black Friday or enjoying the solitude of shopping from home on Cyber Monday, don’t forget to pick up some winter gear for those in need. Several area nonprofits are collecting winter clothing for their clients and patrons. Outerwear items like winter parkas, hats, gloves and boots are definitely needed, but there’s also a need for long johns, sweaters and professional winter apparel. Here’s a list of five organizations that will happily take your donations of new or gently used winter items.
Mel Trotter Ministries
Mel Trotter Ministries is collecting new and like-new winter clothing items as part of its Code Blue clothing drive as it prepares to serve thousands of men, women and children who are experiencing homelessness in greater Grand Rapids this winter. “Code Blue” is a term used at MTM when freezing and extreme temperatures threaten the lives of those who are experiencing homelessness.
Mel Trotter is seeking new or like-new hats, gloves, coats, waterproof boots, long underwear, wool or fleece socks and new hand warmers. A complete list of items needed for the drive and locations can be found here.
Where to Donate: Look for the blue barrels labeled “Code Blue Drive” at Mel Trotter Ministries, 225 Commerce Avenue SW, its two retail stores, in Sparta & Jenison, Gilmore Collection restaurants: The B.O.B., Bostwick Lake Inn, Bluewater Grill, Rose’s on Reeds Lake, and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids branch locations including: David D. Hunting, Mary Free Bed, Wolverine Worldwide, Visser, and Lowell YMCAs.
Guiding Light is seeking new or gently used cold-weather items this season including coats, gloves, hats, socks and winter boots.
In particular, Guiding Light said it is looking for coats in size large for women and in extra-large and 2XL for men, ski gloves that will stay dry in cold, wet weather, winter boots and hats.
Guiding Light helps men and women who may be struggling with homelessness or addiction.
Items can be dropped off at Guiding Light, 255 Division Ave. South. There is free and convenient parking adjacent to the building.
YWCA West Central Michigan
Dr. Laura Fogle and her staff are hosting their annual Warm Hands Warm Hearts holiday drive to collect winter clothing donations for the families living at the YWCA West Central Michigan’s domestic violence abuse shelter.
The YWCA’s emergency shelter provides refuge and support for approximately 500 women and children each year.
Donations of new or gently used hats, mittens, gloves and scarves can be dropped off at Dr. Fogle’s office, at 933 Three Mile Rd. N.W., Suite 102. The office is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In the Image
In the Image accepts clothing and household items year round to stock its Free Stores, where families and individuals in crisis can “shop” for clothing and other items they need.
For the winter season, the organization said it is in need of “any and all winter gear.” Specifically, the organization has a large need for children’s coats and snow pants. There is also a general need for men’s and women’s warm winter coats. Gloves, hats, scarves, long johns, warm sweaters, jeans, warm socks and other winter items are also needed.
In the Image serves homeless individuals, seeing an average of 2400 clients in a month – with that number continually increasing.
Drop off donations at In the Image, 1823 S. Division Ave., Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. – noon.
Women’s Resource Center
Women’s Resource Center, which collects professional clothing year-round for women, is also collecting winter specific clothing.
The organization said its clients need winter outerwear “appropriate to wear to a job interview.” Specific items include dress coats, hats, scarves, gloves and dress boots. According to its website, Women’s Resource Center accepts clothing that is three years old or newer and in clean and excellent condition.
The Women’s Resource Center advocates for women to achieve economic independence through meaningful employment. The organization operates the Working Women’s Clothes Closet, which (WWCC) offers women the clothing and accessories they need to project a professional image and effectively compete in today’s job market.
Over 300 women a year take advantage of this service. Trained volunteers serve as personal shoppers assisting women in choosing outfits that are the most flattering and appropriate for her situation.
Drop off donations atWomen’s Resource Center, at 678 Front Ave. NW, Suite 180, on Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., or Fridays from 9 a.m. – noon.
*Photo courtesy of Mel Trotter Ministries. Pictured: Kids pitch in to collect winter items for those in need at Mel Trotter.