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FAQ and Resources

When the seasons change and warmth becomes a means of necessity, the New York Cares Annual Coat Drive is already in full swing. Find out the important dates for the drive, how we collect thousands of coats each year, where to drop off your donations, and much more.

Coat Drive 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 125,000 coats each year and distribute them to New Yorkers who need them most in the colder months. The Coat Drive has been running for 29 years and counting, having collected and distributed 1.8 million winter coats to-date, thanks to generous New Yorkers. 

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

The 29th Annual Coat Drive officially launches on November 14 and runs through December 31. As a collection, you can begin gathering coats much earlier and drop them off once the Coat Drive kicks off. Most drop-off locations will begin accepting your coat donations in mid-November. 

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: Tweet, share, post about the Coat Drive and encourage your networks to get involved, using .
  • Register as a Coat Collection: Put on your collection cap and recruit friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors to donate coats to your collection. You can register as a collection beginning October 17 here.
  • Donate to the cause: Text COAT to 41444. Just $20 buys a new coat for a neighbor in need. Or, make an online gift here to customize your donation.

 

What does New York Cares do with the coats collected?

New York Cares works hand-in-hand with a wide variety of organizations across New York City to make sure donated coats are distributed as quickly as possible to New Yorkers who need them. With the help of volunteers, coats are sorted in our Coat Drive Warehouse, and then distributed to nonprofit social service agencies, public schools, religious institutions, and transitional housing shelters - all of which serve some of our city's most vulnerable populations. Many coats are also sent to our Walk-In Centers, where individuals can pick up coats on specific days and times to help keep them warm during the winter season. 

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 about your first coat drop-offs, your collection events, and your top donors. Just let us know using email or find us on: Instagram: , Facebook.com/newyorkcares, Twitter: , Tag us using and we’ll help spread the good news.

Collecting Coats

How do I sign up as a coat collection?

Start by registering here and and we'll provide your collection with all the promotional materials you’ll need to run a successful drive. New this year, 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 spread the wealth. If this option doesn't work for you, cardboard boxes can be purchased from a variety of companies, including shipping supply companies or hardware stores. To spread the holiday cheer, don’t forget to decorate your box with wrapping paper and poster.

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

As long as the coats are in good condition and an individual could walk out of our Walk-In Centers wearing the coat and feeling warm, then we would gladly accept the donation! Also encourage donors to launder or dry clean their coat 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 organizations with the capacity to distribute these items to those in need. A list of organizations can be found on our website: www.newyorkcares.org/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 won’t open until November 8, so unfortunately we won’t have the capacity to collect and distribute coats until that time. If you can’t keep them until then, there are many other organizations in our community that would appreciate your generosity. Review a list of agencies interested in receiving coats here.

Can New York Cares pick up my donation?

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

When is the best time to drop off coats?

After the warehouse opens on November 8, the earlier the better! We suggest getting a head start on your collection and recommend dropping off your coats in waves, 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, where you can find your nearest drop-off location. We have partnered with all NYPD Police Precincts, participating Queens Public Libraries, Penn Station and Grand Central, 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 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 news! We consider these bulk donations, and ask that you drop them off directly at our Coat Drive Warehouse. New York Cares does not have the capacity to 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 14, and will stay open through December 31st. The hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

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 on each bag. The labels are how we track how many coats each collection drops off, so make sure they are visible. 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 school or 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, you can fill out an online application to receive coats in in late-October. Before applying, please have your EIN number and preferred contact information handy. 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 in early December. Please check out our website at that time for a list of all Walk-In locations.