Tis' the season for a lot of things, maybe some that we are glad only come around once a year — tighter waistbands, packed highways and airports, last minute shopping, extended family... I think you get my point. On the other hand, there are other aspects that we hope to carry over throughout the year, such as giving back. As employees at Durvet, we feel blessed to work for an awesome company and one of our favorite events each year is the community outreach project. This year we decided to team up with the One Warm Coat foundation to collect new and gently used coats.
We began collecting coats mid-December and by the conclusion of the coat drive our box was overflowing — and it wasn't a small box! Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me tell you about One Warm Coat. This nonprofit organization has given out over 5 million coats since their inception in 1992. By focusing on a solitary need, they have been able to work with local charities and organizations in each of our 50 states and in 10 countries. They provide tools and resources to companies, such as ours, to facilitate coat drives even providing an option to list your coat drive on an interactive map through their website. I think the best part is that they then provide a list of charities in your area that they have teamed up with to which you can donate your coats at the conclusion of the coat drive. By keeping it local, we know people in our own neighborhoods and communities are the ones benefiting.
A couple of statistics that blew my mind, according to opendoormission.org, the average age of a homeless person in the United States is 9 years old and there are 31.1 million people living in poverty.
The need is there, obviously, and not just among the homeless population. Local churches and shelters often help families who have simply fallen on hard times. When Sandy with Hope Network of Raytown left with her trunk full of coats she said that their supplies had gotten low and the coats would be put to good use. Knowing that a kid can go outside for recess and be warm or that a gentleman can go on a job interview in their new to them business coat... that is what truly brings joy this time of year.
To quote the Grinch, "It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!"