Coat drive 'an answer to many people's prayers' in North Philadelphia

Andrew Kramer
November 11, 2019 - 9:50 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Delaware Valley is expected to see record low temperatures this week for this time of year and if you haven't done so already, get those winter coats ready, because you'll need them. 

But not everyone can afford a new winter coat. That's where the volunteer program Our Closet PA comes in. 

"We provide free clothing to people in need via pop-up shops that we set up all over the city, but once a year we do an all coat pop-up shop," explained program director Melanie London. "We just want to make sure everyone in need in Philadelphia has a warm winter coat."

On Monday morning and later that night, over 1,000 coats were up for grabs for adults in need at Congregation Rodeph Shalom near Broad and Spring Garden streets. 

These are coats in good condition that were donated to Our Closet PA. 

"It makes me feel amazing," said London of the large crowds of people who showed up. "We get so many expressions of gratitude, 'thank you, bless you, we're so happy you're here,' and it fills our hearts, it's so wonderful. And we also have shoppers who say 'don't I look good,' and I say 'yes you do, you look amazing' because it really builds people's confidence."

Darlene Hoyle seemed to be enjoying herself as she went from rack to rack, trying on different coats before settling on a nice burgundy one.

"Wonderful, warm, going to make my whole winter spectacular," she told KYW Newsradio. "Grateful and thankful for this."

It took Brenda Krzywicki almost an hour to get to this coat drive, a trip that was well worth it for her.

"It's an answer to many people's prayers," she said. "It's a blessing because many of us live check to check or we're poverty stricken so it's imperative that we have clothing for ourselves and for our family members." 

If you missed out on Monday's coat drive, Our Closet PA holds others throughout the year.