MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As temperatures begin to drop and the crispness of fall turns into full-blown winter, many people are shifting their wardrobes to sweaters, heavy socks, gloves and warm coats.
But what if you didn’t have that option? That’s the case for many families in Monongalia and Preston counties and is also the reason the Warm Hands Warm Hearts Community Outerwear Drive exists. Servando Arredondo, the United Way’s engagement manager said the event will run through Jan. 15, 2022.
“It’s a community drive to collect gently worn children and adults winter hats, scarves, knits and gloves, boots and coats,” Arredondo said. “Anything you can think of that you would use to keep yourself warm during the colder months of the year. The goal for the drive is really just to make sure that people are staying warm and safe, you know? If there’s someone that is unsheltered and they’re out on the streets or something like that, we definitely want to make sure that they are at least able to stay warm.”
Arredondo said the United Way works with a local emergency cold weather shelter to ensure many unsheltered people have somewhere warm to sleep on cold nights.
Unfortunately, he said, not everyone makes it to those shelters, so it’s important to offer them some other form of warmth; in this case, clothes.
Items can be dropped off at:
- Fairmont Federal Credit Union, Pineview Drive and Westover locations, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Friday, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday
- Gabe’s, from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
- Huntington Bank, High Street and Suncrest locations only, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday
- WVU College of Law, from 8:15 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Monday-Friday
- The Dominion Post, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Some businesses, like First United Bank and Trust, are soliciting donations from their employees by running in-house collections.
“Their lobbies are closed to the public unless you have a scheduled appointment,” Arredondo said. “So, they’ve placed collection bins in their offices and are asking employees to donate those outerwear items, again things like; hats gloves, scarves and socks, anything you can think of that you would use to keep yourself warm.”
United Way’s Engagement Manager said he encourages all companies, large or small, to get in touch with him to find out more about holding their own in-house outerwear drive.
“If you’re not open to the public right now, this is definitely a great way to get your employees and your staff involved in making a pretty positive impact in the community,” Arredondo said.
If you’re interested in doing a Warm Hands Warm Hearts collection at your business, or are willing to place a barrel for public donations, email Engagement Manager Servando Arredondo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of the clothes donated will stay local and directly benefit your neighbors and fellow citizens, Arredondo said.
“All donations that are received from this collection stay here and Mon and Preston counties. We are connected through a network of agencies through both counties that helped identify the folks that are most in need of these items. So, I just again want to encourage people, if you have the opportunity, if you’re doing some cleaning out of your closets and you have some new or gently used items that you’d like to donate, we have all of the donation sites listed on our website and our social media and a few signs posted around town.”