Published February 17, 2015
Volume 23, Number 2

Spreading Warmth One Warm Coat at a Time
One Warm Coat

By Zoe Francis

A Livermore church is spreading warmth throughout the valley with the help of One Warm Coat.
Tri-Valley Church of Christ has had a free clothing program for more than two decades, but started working with One Warm Coat more than three years ago to expand the church’s reach.
“We are the only church or organization in the Tri-Valley that gives clothes away for free every week,” Ann Butler, church member and dedicated volunteer, said. “Now, we have all of these coats that we’re giving away. Anybody can come in and get one. We try to limit it to one coat per person in your family.”
San Francisco-based One Warm Coat is a nonprofit that helps people organize coat drives and then works with other nonprofits to distribute those coats. Tri-Valley Church of Christ is the only distribution site in the Tri-Valley that offers coats for men, women and children. A Dublin location offers coats for children only.
“We absolutely depend on them and appreciate them,” Jennifer Stockard, One Warm Coat president and CEO, said of the distribution sites. “We know how many people are in need, so the fact that they’re there and they’re helping people who need a warm coat is an incredible resource for the community. They’re providing a direct service for people who need coats.”
The Livermore church became affiliated with One Warm Coat as a way to better reach people in need. It is also a great way for the church to take in more coats to donate. Groups that host coat drives are directed to One Warm Coat’s distribution sites to donate collected coats.
“At our place, you just come in and get it,” Butler said. “When you go to (some other charities), you have to pay for coats. We have a lot of homeless people who come in to get a coat, but it’s mostly families.”
In one week in January, the church served 27 families, giving away 194 coats total to serve all the people within those families.
“Most people who come in have six or seven people in the family,” Butler noted. “They’re terribly excited to have coats for their families. It helps them out immensely. These coats are nice that we get through One Warm Coat.”
Serving as a distribution site for One Warm Coat has helped boost the church’s other charity endeavors.
“When they hear about One Warm Coat and come in, then they’re thrilled to find out that we have other clothes,” she said.
Church volunteers take pride in keeping a donation room well stocked with coats, clothes and other household items for families in need.
“People like the way we have it set up,” Butler said proudly. “We have racks so people can go through and pick out the coats they need and the sizes they need.
Recently, a young boy spied a book that piqued his interest in the church’s tidy donation room. Butler told him to take the book, but the boy replied that he had no money. He was ecstatic to learn the book was free so that he and his brother could read it together.
Tri-Valley Church of Christ, 4481 East Ave., in Livermore gives away coats, clothes and other items every Monday from 10 a.m. to noon in the church’s family life center. Visit trivalleychurch.org to learn more about the church and its ministries.
Visit onewarmcoat.org to learn more about the group and how to host a coat drive or where to donate coats.
Also in this issue...