Earlier this winter, Change Inc. staff organized a coat drive for students at GAP School. Led by social work intern, Abbey Knoop, with guidance from Gaby Hernandez, GAP School’s Lead Social Worker, the coat drive aimed to provide warmth to students during the cold winter months.
The goal was to collect 75 pieces of winterwear and coats, and the response from the community exceeded expectations. 65 coats were generously donated, along with additional sweaters, shoes, and winter gear. Over 240 items were collected in total, benefiting more than 41 students who eagerly picked up these essential winter items.
Abbey advertised the coat drive to all programming staff at Change Inc. and made collection bins at both GAP School, and Change Inc.’s office in Northeast Minneapolis. The collection bins made it easy for staff to bring in their winterwear donation items. Donations also came from the Brooklyn Center-based Pilgrim Dry Cleaners, which collects donations throughout the year and distributes them to organizations upon request.
Abbey, along with other social work interns, set up the donated clothing in the GAP School gym and prepared for students and their families to come and “shop” the items. The response from the students was extremely heartening for Abbey and her fellow interns.
Many of the students, new to the United States, found themselves in a position where they lacked essential winter clothing. The opportunity to "shop for free" brought joy and a noticeable sense of gratitude to the students, who appreciated the generosity. Though the winter chill has been come and go in Minnesota this season, the warmth of this coat drive is certainly being felt by GAP School students and their families.