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FAQ and Resources

About the Coat Drive

What is the Coat Drive?

The Coat Drive is a city-wide effort run by New York Cares which aims to collect over 100,000 coats each year and distribute them to New Yorkers who need them most in the colder months. The Coat Drive has been running for over 30 years and continues to be a critical program providing warmth in the coldest winter months.

When does the New York Cares Coat Drive begin and end?

The Coat Drive officially launches in early November and runs through the end of the year. For the 2019 drive, we will officially be collecting until January 17, 2020.  After the Coat Drive has ended, there are other agencies that will happily accept your donations! Check out DonateNYC's handy map to find a donation site near you. 

How can I support the Coat Drive?

There are many ways to ensure a successful Coat Drive. Spread the word, register as a coat collection, donate financially - or all three!

  • Spread the word: Encourage your network to get involved with the Coat Drive by sharing photos of your collection using #CoatDrive.
  • Register as a Coat Collection: Lead the charge and recruit friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors to donate coats to your collection. Coat Collection registration usually opens in November each year. 
  • Donate to the cause: Text COAT to 474747 or make an online gift to customize your donation. Just $20 buys a new coat for a neighbor in need.


What does New York Cares do with the coats collected?

New York Cares works hand-in-hand with a wide variety of Community Partners across New York City to make sure donated 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.

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

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

How do I promote my Coat Drive and share our story?

We want to hear the whole story of your Coat Collection: a photo of the coat box in your lobby, a video from your Coat Drive Happy Hour, or profiles of your top donors – we want it all! Just let us know by sending us an email or finding us on social media. Tag us and include #CoatDrive in your post and we’ll help spread the good news.

Instagram: @newyorkcares

Twitter: @newyorkcares

Collecting Coats

How do I sign up as a coat collection?

Start by registering here and we'll provide your collection with all the promotional materials you’ll need to run a successful drive. Collections can opt to go green and we will send them an email with all the necessary digital resources.

Does New York Cares provide coat collection boxes?

While New York Cares provides you with posters for your collection, we unfortunately cannot provide boxes. We recommend checking in with your local grocery or drugstore, which often have extra boxes and are willing to share. Cardboard boxes can also be purchased from a variety of retailers, including shipping supply companies or hardware stores. To spread the holiday cheer, don’t forget to decorate your box with wrapping paper or posters.

Do the coats collected 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 our Walk-In Centers wearing the coat and feeling warm, then we 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 out of the agency.

Does New York Cares accept clothing items other than coats?

At this time, we can only collect clean, gently-used jackets and coats. For other clothing items, such as sweaters, hats, and gloves, please feel free to reach out to any of the organizations on this list. The NYC Department of Sanitation also keeps an up-to-date list of places to drop off other donated items including clothing!

Is there a specific type of coat you are looking for?

Any coat that can keep someone warm is greatly appreciated, but our highest demands are for children’s coats and extra-large men’s coats. If you are considering purchasing a new or gently used coat, or doing a targeted outreach to potential donors, these are always our biggest needs.

I have coats I’d like to donate now. Can I send them to New York Cares before November?

The doors of our Coat Drive Warehouse open November 13, which is the first date we collect and distribute coats. If your coats need a new home before then there are many other organizations in our community that would appreciate your generosity. Review a list of agencies interested in receiving coats before November 13 here.

Can New York Cares pick up my donation?

We truly appreciate all contributions, but unfortunately cannot coordinate donation pick-ups. As a nonprofit, we appreciate your support in our efforts to keep costs low. We encourage you to find the location nearest you to drop off your donation or coordinate a delivery with your team members.

When is the best time to drop off coats?

Once the warehouse has opened on November 13, the earlier the better! We suggest getting a head start on your collection and recommend dropping off your coats in small batches as the donations come in. The sooner we receive the coats, the sooner they are sorted and distributed to the New Yorkers who need the warmth.

Where can I drop off one or two bags of coats?

Refer to our handy online Coat Drive map to find the drop-off location nearest you. We have partnered with all NYPD Police Precincts, participating members of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, and dozens of other public spaces to help make your drop-offs as easy as possible.

Please keep in mind, these locations are specifically for individual donors and often have limited capacity to accept donations of more than two large garbage bags. If your donation is larger, please drop off directly to our Coat Drive Warehouse. 

What if I have more than two bags of coats to drop-off?

That’s wonderful! We consider these “bulk” donations and ask that you drop them off directly at our Coat Drive Warehouse. New York Cares does not coordinate donation pick-ups. Our Coat Drive Warehouse’s loading dock, located at 157 West 31st Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan, opens on November 13, and will stay open through January 17, 2020. The hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Please note: The warehouse will be CLOSED on 12/25 and 12/31.

How do I prepare my coats for drop-off?

If you are dropping coats off at our warehouse, make sure that they are double bagged, and your labels are well-secured on each bag. The labels are how we track how many coats each collection drops off, so make sure to write legibly. If you run out of labels, write your name, your collection name, and number of coats on each bag.

Requesting Coats

How can my organization apply to receive coats?

If you’re a New York City Public School or 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, you can fill out an online application. Before applying, please have your preferred contact information handy. 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations will also need to provide their EIN number. The application typically goes live in late October. Keep an eye out for more information here.

What if I need a coat or know of someone who needs a coat?

Anyone in need of a coat will be able to pick one up from a Coat Drive Walk-In Center by early December through mid-February of the following year.