Winter coat, boot and blanket distribution helps people in need

By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
Danielson - posted Wed., Nov. 9, 2011
Organizers from social services sort through coats ready for distribution. Hundreds more coats and jackets were left unclaimed by the end of the evening. Photo by Merja H. Lehtinen.
Organizers from social services sort through coats ready for distribution. Hundreds more coats and jackets were left unclaimed by the end of the evening. Photo by Merja H. Lehtinen.

On a quiet, cold weekend night in Danielson, there were bright lights and long lines outside of popular restaurants and pubs, but a quiet, still darkness prevailed at the Community Center on Broad Street.

A small audience was trickling in two by two to attend The Little Theater on Broad Street's Nov. 4 performance of “Leading Ladies,” while only two middle-aged men walked quickly in and out of the cafeteria of the Killingly Community Center to pick up a winter jacket. The men heading into the coat, boot and blanket distribution center declined to be interviewed, for what one said were “obvious reasons.” “Who would want to acknowledge this?” he asked.

Although there were more coats than takers at the downtown community center that Friday night, organizers said that the lines for donors and those needing a coat wrapped down the halls when the distribution center opened the night before in the spacious former cafeteria of what was once a school. About 100 people needing coats Thursday night were outnumbered by the ample numbers of coats and jackets. Hundreds of coats were still displayed on the long tables by Friday evening.

Even with an abundance of coats of all types and winter jackets, there were fewer coats donated than last year, according to the social services staff. They said donors' closets have been thinned out.

Those still wishing to donate gently-used and dry-cleaned coats or new coats for people of all ages should contact the Plainfield social services department, which will hold the next coat donation and distribution drive in following weeks.

The next distribution will be sponsored by the Plainfield Recreation Department. It was not clear why there were fewer takers than usual for the coats as the winter weather cold spell set in early in Connecticut with the Oct. 29 snow storm, and unemployment in the region is still high.

Whatever the reason, the community center, despite the local theater performance and the second night of the coat drive and distribution, was virtually empty. Donations of coats, boots and blankets are still being accepted, and many are still available for those in need.


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