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Collecting Coats for Those in Need
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UPPER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WLVT) - Even though winter is technically about a month away, the Lehigh Valley is experiencing the cold already. For those in the community who need coats, several organizations are stepping up to help.

Upper Macungie Township police have been collecting coats since 2016.

"This is a great opportunity for us to follow through with what is written on our patch, which is 'Committed to Service,'" said Lt. Peter Nickischer. "I figured this was probably a way that we could not only benefit those in need, but also help residents who are looking to clear out their closets, and it worked...I expected to get a handful of jackets and coats. We ended up getting over 300 jackets and coats and then another 80 miscellaneous winter items."

This year's coat drive kicked off Tuesday and will continue for about a month, Nickischer said. Anyone can stop by police headquarters at 37 Grim Road in Breinigsville and drop off new or gently-used coats any time of day.

"They can simply leave the coat or jacket in a bin and walk out," Nickischer said. "They don't need to speak to an officer. They don’t need to check in. Just drop it off and leave. We try to make it as simple as possible."

This year, the department will give the coats to Parkland C.A.R.E.S., a choice pantry PBS39 featured last month. Executive director Katrina Sundstrom said the organization will hand out the coats to local families next month.

Other groups in the valley are collecting winter items, too:

  • Herron Funeral Homes is collecting coats and thermal underwear in all sizes at its Bethlehem (458 Center St.) and Allentown (1145 Lehigh St.) locations.
  • Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering (75 E. Market Street) is also collecting items. The shelter opens December 1. For more details, call 484-379-6694.
  • Wesley Church (2540 Center Street, Bethlehem) is collecting items for Project Keep Warm, organized by Lehigh Valley Business Group.