Jeanie Coates

It’s been cold out these days. “Coat weather” as they say. Each morning before I head to work, I look in my closet and try to decide which coat to wear. Do I go with the soft fluffy cream or fleece-collared gray? Or is it the trench coat, the pea coat or one of my down-filled jackets in tangerine, sandstone or snowflake? Oh, but it might rain. Maybe the blue plaid, the belted black or the poly-tech raincoat would be a better choice. Then, again, there’s always the puffy coat with fur-trimmed hood lurking in the back of my closet. Choices, choices.

Some people don’t have these choices. Some people don’t have even one choice at all.

This season of giving is always a good reminder that not everyone has the same blessings. Something like a simple coat that we all take for granted could be the difference between happiness and hurt for someone else. That’s why Coates Kokes selected the “One Warm Coat” initiative for our volunteer service this December. Let the coat drive begin.

Agency team members cleaned out their closets, their families’ closets, and canvased their neighborhoods in search of coats to donate to the cause. We started the drive on a Monday and by Tuesday, with just two donations, had a pile of 11 coats—ten single-handedly brought in by Sierra. Each day the pile grew larger and then the number of piles began to grow too. Word of our coat drive spread throughout the building and among clients. Soon there were garbage bags, shopping bags, and even a giant lawn debris bag—all teeming with donations—stacked high in our Coates Kokes lobby.

On Wednesday, December 20, Christina and her-stuffed-to-the brim Chevy Malibu delivered 70 coats (41 women’s, 23 men’s, 6 kids’) and $100 in cash donations to NARA NW Outpatient Services and SE Works where we know these coats will help keep others in our community warm this winter. Meanwhile, we all feel warm knowing our efforts are helping others have a few more choices in their lives. And in the process, I learned I never needed so many choices in mine.