As the weather turns colder and you pull your warm clothes out from storage, you may begin to crave a new look. Upgrading your wardrobe with a new coat provides a great opportunity to help someone else stay warm this winter. There are even a few places that will give you a discount on buying new winter staples if you donate your preowned outerwear. Here are five ways to make sure that donated coat goes to someone who needs it more than you do.
1. GIVE IT TO J. CREW.
Between now and Christmas, J. Crew’s coat drive will reward you for bringing in gently used outwear. Donate a coat before December 25 and you’ll get a $25 discount on any purchase of more than $125, giving you the opportunity to pick up a new coat at a cheaper price. In 2017, customers donated 12,000 coats as part of the partnership with the charity One Warm Coat.
2. BRING IT TO THE BASEBALL STADIUM.
If you live in the New York area, a used coat could get you Mets tickets. The Mets and New York Cares are sponsoring a holiday coat drive this year on November 14. Bring a coat to the Team Store at Citi Field and you’ll receive a voucher for two tickets to one of the team’s games in April or May 2019.
Several other baseball teams host coat drives across the country, so check your local teams’ sites to see if there is a coat drive near you. Richmond, Virginia’s minor league team the Flying Squirrels, for instance, is hosting a Ballpark Warming Party on November 3 that will provide live music, food samples, and kids’ activities to fans who come and donate coats.
3. TAKE IT TO BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY.
Each year, Burlington Coat Factory teams up with the nonprofit Delivering Good to provide warm clothes to families who need them. Bring your coat to any store and in return, you’ll receive a 10 percent discount on any purchase. (Also, warm fuzzy feelings.) As part of the 11th annual drive in 2017, the company collected and donated more than 160,000 coats. While the company hasn’t yet announced the timing of its 2018 drive, it usually lasts from mid-November to mid-January. Keep an eye out on the website for this year’s dates.
4. FIND A ROTARY CLUB.
Rotary International clubs all over the U.S. hold their own local coat drives each year—the one in Longmont, Colorado has been around for almost 30 years. While it might not be quite as long-running as Longmont’s (which takes place this year from October 14 to November 21), chances are, there’s a coat drive at your local Rotary club going on in your town this fall and winter. Contact your local club for dates and drop-off locations.
5. START YOUR OWN COAT DRIVE.
To really do some good this winter, don't just donate to a coat drive—start one yourself. You can register a drive with national organizations like One Warm Coat in order to receive free tools and resources to help you plan and promote your drive. All you need to do to start is set dates, pick an organization to donate the coats to, figure out where your drop-off locations will be, and start spreading the word. To take matters into your own hands, start with these tips for launching your own coat drive.
Plenty of local charities, businesses, schools, and shelters offer their own coat drives for nearby residents, so you don’t need to drop your coat off at a major retailer. As an alternative, there’s probably a smaller coat drive going on in your town. And if you really want to make sure folks in need stay warm this winter, consider donating other warm items like socks to homeless shelters and other charitable organizations as well.