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Coat Drive FAQ and Resources

If there was ever a time to spread a message of warmth in our city, it’s now. Learn all about the Coat Drive; who receives coats, how to fundraise, where to donate, and more.

Coat Drive Resources

Frequently Asked Coat Drive Questions

What is the Coat Drive?

The Coat Drive is a city-wide effort run by New York Cares which provides tens of thousands of new and gently-used coats to New Yorkers in need each year. The Coat Drive has been running for more than 30 years and continues to be a critical program providing warmth to the communities we serve. This year, as New York Cares continues to respond to COVID-19, the Coat Drive will consist of both virtual coat collections (raising money for new coats) and donating coats directly at participating sites.

Who is impacted by the Coat Drive? 

New York Cares works together with a wide variety of nonprofit and organizational partners across New York City to make sure donated and new coats are distributed to New Yorkers who need them as quickly as possible. Our Community Partners include nonprofit social service agencies, public schools, religious institutions, and transitional housing shelters—all of which serve some of our city's most vulnerable populations.

How do I start a virtual coat collection?

Start by creating your own fundraiser. This will be your virtual collection box, and you can share this link with any friends and family who would like to contribute a warm coat to your collection. Every $25 donated distributes a warm winter COAT+ 10 meals to the community.

I’ve never done a virtual fundraiser before. Is there any advice you can provide?

Yes! Our team is here to support you every step of the way as you begin your virtual collection. Start by taking a look at our Virtual Coat Collector Toolkit for tips, ideas, and templates to engage your friends and family. 

Can I start a Facebook or Instagram fundraiser?

We love Facebook and Instagram fundraisers! It is important to know that these fundraisers take around 4-6 weeks for New York Cares to receive the funds. For a more immediate impact, and to help us get coats to those who need them before it gets cold, we suggest you create your own virtual coat collection and fundraiser. We receive the funds within a few days and can use them immediately to purchase new coats.

How do I donate a physical coat?

Donating to the purchase of new coats is still the most direct way to support the drive, but several of our partners will be accepting coats directly this year. In the coming weeks, we’ll share a map of partners around NYC who are accepting physical coat donations. We encourage you to reach out to these partner organizations directly to coordinate coat drop-offs by using the information they have listed. The map will be continuously updated as we add more partners, so keep your eye on it to find a location that works for you. In light of COVID-19, we ask that all coats are laundered (or checked for cleanliness) prior to drop-off.

Do the coats need to be new? Can I donate old coats with a broken zipper/button/etc.?

If the coats are in good condition and an individual could leave with the coat feeling warm, then our partners would gladly accept the donation. That said, we encourage donors to launder or dry clean their well-loved coats before donating so they are ready to be worn right away.

Can I donate clothing items other than coats?

At this time, we ask that you only donate clean, new or gently-used winter coats. You can find organizations accepting other clothing items (such as sweaters, hats, and gloves) at Donate NYC.

I am an individual in need of a coat. How can I get one?

We recommend reviewing the list of walk-in sites on our current Coat Drive Map. Participating walk-in sites will have “Walk In Site? Yes” listed at the bottom of their information card. These locations have committed to giving out coats to anyone who walks in, though we recommend calling ahead first to ensure they have the size and type of coat needed.

Additionally, you can contact any of our walk-in partners who are receiving new coats directly from New York Cares.

Will I be able to volunteer to support the Coat Drive?

We anticipate potential coat distribution projects at community partner sites, as well as our warehouse, and will share more information on these projects as they are planned. If we have available opportunities, find them by using our advanced search and typing COATDRIVE in the project code field.

Is my donation tax-deductible? Can I get a receipt?

Yes, and yes! The value of any monetary donation or used coat you donate to the Coat Drive is tax deductible (download a coat donation receipt). Please note: New York Cares does not appraise coats. Values are assigned by the donor up to a maximum of $5,000.