What would you wear?

Jun 12, 2024 | by Rebecca Snapp

When the weather begins to turn in Minnesota, we see the leaves change color, we notice frost on the ground, cinnamon pinecones begin to appear in grocery store entryways. For many of us, these changes coincide with us opening our coat closets for the first time in months, and pulling out whatever jacket is most appropriate for the weather that day. 

The unfortunate reality is that, for many people in our community, there are no coats in the coat closet or there isn't a closet at all. That's where the annual coat collection and distribution at The Salvation Army come into play. Families and individuals from across Olmsted County, whether they are unsheltered or low-income, visit our community center in October of each year to select the winter coat and other outerwear they will need to stay warm in the cold months of the year.

Every year, The Salvation Army runs short of the heavy coats they need for every person who needs one. "The challenge isn't the number of items people donate. We have a very generous community here in Rochester. The challenge is that the coats people donate are often not warm winter coats," said Major Candace Voeller, Corps Officer of The Salvation Army in Rochester, "What we really hope everyone will think about this year is whether or not they would wear the coat they are about to donate on a really cold winter day." 

The Salvation Army collects winter outerwear for both adults and children every Fall, and we expect the need will be even more intense this winter. "We've seen the numbers of people utilizing our services nearly double across the board in the last year," said Major Candace, "Some of it is that our community is growing, some of it is inflation and high costs, and some of it is connected to people who are still recovering from the pandemic. Whatever the reason, we expect even more people to come to us for coats this year."

To donate coats, boots, snow pants, hats, and heavy winter gloves to The Salvation Army, please bring these items to 20 First Avenue NE, Rochester, MN 55906 on Monday, October 14th between 8am and 2pm. Please note that these items will also be accepted at The Salvation Army Social Services Center across the street the week before this date (Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm). 

For questions about donations and needs, please call 507-288-3663. 





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