National Nonprofit One Warm Coat Calls on Volunteers to Help Address Critical Shortage of Coats for People in Need

As civic-minded Americans prepare to take part in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, national nonprofit One Warm Coat is urging people to hold coat drives to collect winter coats for those in need.

“Holding a coat drive is a fun, easy, and free way to make an immediate impact on the lives of others in your community,” said Beth W. Amodio, One Warm Coat’s president and chief executive officer. “The need couldn’t be greater. This year, we’ve seen a significant  decline in the number of coat drives taking place across the country.”

Because of the economic crisis created by COVID-19, demand for coats in most communities is up 30-50 percent compared with last year at this time. Meanwhile, One Warm Coat is experiencing a 60 percent decrease in the number of registered coat drives.

The result: A shortage of warm winter coats at a time when an estimated 30 million Americans are unemployed and more than 1 in 8 American households are living in poverty

This year, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is getting a high-profile boost with President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee recently announcing it plans to take part in the national day of service in honor of the civil rights icon. The inaugural committee is also encouraging Americans to volunteer on the Jan. 18 holiday, the only federal holiday that is also designated as a national day of service.

One Warm Coat, which distributed more than 500,000 free coats to children and adults in need in the 2019-20 winter season, relies on volunteer-led drives to collect coats, which it then distributes through partnerships with local nonprofits. Workplaces and schools are often major contributors — but because of COVID-19, many companies and schools have been unable to host drives this year.

“At a time in which our country faces so many challenges, holding a coat drive as part of the Martin Luther King Day Jr. Day of Service is a way to make a real difference by making sure those in need have the life-saving protection of a warm coat,” Amodio said.  “Shelter from the elements is a basic need, and One Warm Coat is working to collect and distribute coats across the U.S. to ensure that we can protect the health and well-being of as many people as possible.”

Individuals, community groups, and businesses can support One Warm Coat’s efforts through its Coat Drive Program. Hosting a coat drive is simple. One Warm Coat provides all of the resources necessary to register, promote, and manage coat drives, and partners with nonprofits in communities across the country to ensure every coat that’s collected is delivered to someone in need. One Warm Coat is providing social distancing and safety tips to ensure everyone involved in the Coat Drive Program can participate safely.

For those who want to help but are unable to collect coats, making a financial contribution or collecting donations on behalf of One Warm Coat is another way to make a life-changing impact. Every $1 donated warms 1 person. To learn more, visit: