Vicki and Terry Carstenn, Wisconsin
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11/03/2011 | 10:39AM


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A few years ago, my husband and I read in an in-flight magazine about an organization called One Warm Coat that had started in San Francisco. It was such a simple, smart idea – giving gently-used coats that would otherwise be thrown away to those in need. The magazine gave instructions on how to start a coat drive in your own community, and as soon as we got home we looked up more information and started planning ways to make it a reality in our community.


For the last four years we’ve set out boxes around the community – in a fitness facility, at a chiropractor’s office and in some of the schools – to collect coats. We collect and sort the coats every fall, and take them to an organization in Waukesha county that distributes them to families in need for free. They’re more than thankful to have the coats come through their doors, and we’re just as pleased to be able to help.


We started by just sending emails and telling people we knew about it, but it’s spread through word-of-mouth over the last few years. It’s so well-known now that people bring us coats year-round!


We love that the coats we collect stay here in southeast Wisconsin – that we’re really helping out locally. People don’t often think, when putting on their own coat, that somebody out there doesn’t have one of their own to stay warm. This is something so minimal on our part but so necessary for other people.



Looking for how to get started in your community?  Check out How to Hold a Coat Drive for step-by-step directions.


Already helping in your community?  Create the Good would love to hear about how you make a difference!  Share Your Story with Create the Good and you might be in the next Volunteer Spotlight to help inspire others.