Newscenter Fairbanks wraps up the 2023 Coat Drive

Published: Oct. 17, 2023 at 9:32 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - For the past few weeks, Newscenter Fairbanks partnered with Madden Real Estate, the United Way of the Tanana Valley, and Northern Laundry Services in the annual Coat Drive.

Stacy Harvill, Director of Operations with Walden Madden Real Estate, explained, “We love doing the fundraisers, this coat drive especially. We’ve done it for several years. I think the turnout this year was just, it was unbelievable.”

Many in the Fairbanks community struggle to stay warm over the unforgiving winter months. Still others spend the harsh season without a home altogether.

“Unfortunately, our unhoused community numbers are going up, and with the inflation of the economy being what it is, it’s gotten a lot harder for even two-income homes to be able to provide proper winter gear,” said Alyssa Handy, Executive Director of Development for the United Way of the Tanana Valley.

The Coat Drive is meant to alleviate that burden by collecting warm clothing items from the community for distribution to those who need it. Harvill said, “We saw lots of hats, lots of gloves, a whole bunch of personal-made items as well, like handmade hats and scarves.”

For four weeks, sponsor locations acted as drop off sites around Interior Alaska. “What we received in our office was just piles and piles everyday,” added Harvill. Donations came in right up to the wire on Sunday, she said. “Our office was closed that day, so when I come in this morning, there was a nice, huge bag sitting on the outside, and also we have this little mail slot outside our door, and people had been using that to put the coats into the mail slot to get them into our office.”

Now that the drive has ended, the time has come to clean the donations and count and organize what’s been collected. Then, the items will be distributed throughout the community. “After everything has gone to Northern Laundry Services, we bring it back here, we sort everything, and then we get it back out to the community, whether it’s through our funded partner agencies, calling other non-profits,” Harvill explained. Items can also go through social programs, or even directly to families.

In 2022, the effort raked in fourteen hundred pounds of donations. This year, the total amount is looking to be over a thousand pounds.

Newscenter Fairbanks will update the results as soon as final numbers become available.