YMCA, other nonprofits say coat donations falling short this year

The YMCA is one of a few local nonprofits struggling to keep up with the demand of people requesting help. 

The organization said it needs coats as temperatures drop, but donations are down this year.

"This is a huge concern, especially for folks that take public transportation, waiting at bus stops, trying to walk certain distances to get to the grocery store, and for those that are experiencing homelessness," Kate Whitby, the community program director at YMCA of the North. 

Normally during this time of year, the local YMCA would be done handing out coats to families in need. But this year, she said the YMCA is nowhere near its goal.

"Typically we would use our YMCA centers to collect these items," said Whitby. "When you're coming to work out, you'd see a sign that would be a reminder to you. With gym usage being down as fitness centers are closed, we're not having that traffic that we would typically have." 

YMCA of the North normally hands out more than 3,500 free coats each year to individuals and low-income families. 

"I’m definitely concerned that we’re not going to get what we need," said Whitby. "We’ve already seen youth [outside] without mittens, without the proper boots on, and with clothes that don’t quite fit right."

The YMCA has only raised $2,000 two of its $10,000 goal for 2020 to buy coats, and it’s not alone. 

Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities said that donations are down this year, as well.  

"We need clothes, boots, coats, socks - all those types of things to make sure that we can keep people warm and safe," said Nick Gisi, director of the men’s campus at Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities 

Both the YMCA and Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities said monetary donations are better this year to purchase the correct sizes of items that are needed for vulnerable populations.

To donate to the YMCA, click here

To donate to Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities, click here