Sharing the Warmth

Nov 9, 2020 | by Doug Donahoo

An unseasonably warm weekend greeted Kansas City to begin November. For a community normally preparing to bundle up it was a great excuse to get one last wear out of the shorts and t-shirts. However, The Salvation Army couldn’t use the warm weather to not think about the cold temperatures that are sure to follow.

On Saturday, November 7, The Salvation Army set-up shop at eight different shopping centers across the Kansas City area to collect new and gently used jackets, coats, scarfs, gloves, hats, and blankets as part of Operation Warmth.

The collection day is usually part of Project Warmth, an annual drive to collect cold-weather gear along with money to help pay utility bills. This year, in the face of COVID-19, the two major media partners took a step back, leaving The Salvation Army to soldier on and meet the increase of need.

“We knew we couldn’t sit by and let coats and jackets go uncollected this year,” Major David Harvey said. “We have the infrastructure to make wide-scale collections and distributions like this happen.”

So, staff and volunteers descended on eight shopping centers to collect donations for five hours on that sunny Saturday morning. That was only half the work. At 2 pm, trucks delivered all the items to a warehouse where eight volunteers could start the sorting process in a safe manner.

“It was really inspiring to see the volunteers here, it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I’m sure they can each think of 10 other places they’d rather be right now, but they’re here in a warehouse doing the heavy lifting,” said Amy Warren, Resource Development Manager.

Eight volunteers spent several hours unloading the bagged donations from trucks. The bags will sit for the next several days as part of the quarantine process before the items inside are sorted for distribution.

The Salvation Army is utilizing space at Heart to Heart International’s warehouse. That organization willingly provided the location to help in the process of collecting and sorting all of the donations.

“We are so grateful for this huge, clean facility to be able to dock trucks, unload tons of coats and blankets and organize. Without Heart to Heart letting us use this space, we wouldn’t be able to socially distance and safely have Operation Warmth,” Warren said.

The coats and other winter items will be made available via a voucher system through Kansas City-area Salvation Army corps locations. To find a corps near you click here.

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