Local Pennsylvania State Police troopers are looking for more than a few good coats — they’re looking for new hats, gloves and blankets, too, as winter approaches.
This is the third year troopers attached to Troop N will host the community coat drive. All of Troop N’s facilities, comprised of its headquarters in West Hazleton and stations at Lehighton, Bloomsburg, Stroudsburg and Blakeslee (Fern Ridge), are involved.
Each station is collecting new or gently used coats of all sizes, for all ages, along with new hats, gloves and blankets for people in the communities they serve. Donation boxes can be found in the lobby of each station and dropoffs can be made 24-7 through Nov. 13. Donors are asked to wear a mask and bag their donations. Those who may be ill should wait until they are feeling better to stop by, said Trooper David Peters.
The items will be distributed to charities in the troop’s jurisdiction, which includes Monroe, Carbon, Columbia and southern Luzerne counties. In the Hazleton area, donations have gone to Catholic Social Services, United Charities and Brandon’s Forever Home in the past. This year, because of financial stress brought on by the pandemic, it’s believed the need will be greater, said Peters.
Families that were once financially afloat may need help this year because of job loss, creating an extra demand on social service agencies who were helping struggling families prior to the pandemic but who are now financially devastated due to COVID-19.
“It’s OK to need help. We’ve all needed help at one point in our lives,” Peters said.
The donations may mean a family can redirect the money they have to food, heat or medical bills.
“Everybody has been affected by the pandemic and some have been affected more than others. We’re going to get through it together, we are getting through it together,” Peters said.
Organizations that need help collecting anything for the needy, from coats to canned goods, can get help from Troop N, Peters said.
The community coat drive began after troopers noticed children wearing only hooded sweatshirts while they walked to school on cold winter days.
“You’re driving around the area and you see kids and adults and the weather’s cold and they don’t seem to have the right clothing,” said Peters.
Stations involved in the collection are:
Hazleton, 250 Dessen Drive, West Hazleton, PA 18202; 570-459-3890.
Bloomsburg, 6850 Hidley Church Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815; 570 387-4261
Lehighton, 9170 Interchange Road, Lehighton, PA 18235; 610-681-1850
Fern Ridge, 127 Parkside Avenue, Blakeslee, PA 18610; 570-646-2271
Stroudsburg, 2730 Rimrock Drive, Stroudsburg, PA 18360; 570-619-6800
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