BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)– Right now, temperatures are trending down and the need for warmth is rising. Some organizations are working to combat the effects of cold weather on people in need in response to significant poverty levels nationwide.
One Warm Coat, a national non-profit, is actively working to bring awareness to the increasing need for warmth in communities like Birmingham.
Today is their One Warm Coat Day, an initiative highlighting their mission to provide free coats to children and adults in need. This is in addition to other goals like promoting volunteerism and environmental sustainability.
President and CEO Beth Amodio told CBS42 it’s really important that people are protected from cold temperatures with warm clothing, especially young children and senior adults because they are at the greatest risk of experiencing health effects like hypothermia.
The U.S. Census Bureau shows about 38 million Americans are living in poverty with the poverty rate sitting at 11.5%. Here in Alabama, it’s even higher at about 16%. This means simple purchases like coats may not be in the cards for some families.
“It’s a continuing issue, and you know, I think it has a lot to do with the economic environment,” Amodio said. “The high cost of utilities, the high cost of groceries, of fuel, of insurance and families that are on a really tight budget, anything can make an impact. That’s going to have an unfortunate ripple effect.”
To learn how you can make a tangible impact by providing warmth for others in various ways, you can click here.
Local organizations like the Power of Life Foundation in Birmingham are following the lead of One Warm Coat.
They are actively collecting financial and warm clothing donations like coats, scarfs, hats, and winter gloves.
The items will all be given to children and adults in need at their winter giveaway event on December 17. This will take place at the Fultondale Event Center.
“Always give someone else an opportunity,” said Executive Director Lane Harper. “Whatever level you’re on, always reach back and pull someone up to that level, hoping and praying that someone a little higher up than you will reach back and pull you up as well. So, it’s just about reciprocity, treating people like you want to be treated, letting people know that nobody’s left behind. And if we all just take a little time to care for one another, I think we’ll be a little bit better.”
Harper said they try to bless as many families as they can, usually covering 500 to 1,000 people. Their goal is to collect 1,000 coats but are sitting at 300 to 400 currently.
To learn more about how you can make a donation through the Power of Life Foundation, you can click here.