The weather in southern Oklahoma is still fairly warm, even for early fall, but local agencies are already gearing up to keep folks in need warm this winter.
Two of those agencies — Heroes with Hope and Ardmore Young Professionals — will begin gathering coats and cold weather accessories this month.
For Heroes with Hope, the process of gathering items for area youth in need never stops. “We started gathering socks and underwear back in August,” said Heroes with Hope Director Melissa Woolly. This is the second year the agency has collected undergarments, based on need information from local schools and the children they serve. Another thing they purchase often is shoes. “Last year we bought a lot of shoes, in all sizes,” Woolly said.
Over the summer, Woolly said they set up events at area housing complexes to reach community youth. “We had hot dogs and gave out socks, underwear and other items,” Woolly said. “We focus on filling gaps where other agencies aren’t able to,” Woolly said. “We are just trying to do something different.” Heroes with Hope will gather new coats and other items as long as they’re needed and distribute them through their program.
For Ardmore Young Professionals, this marks the eleventh year of their annual coat drive. Co-chair Marcus High said AYP will begin collecting new or gently used coats, hats, scarves and gloves on October 15. “Our goal is to help the community stay warm,” High said.
AYP’s drive will run through November 16. All items donated at any of their drop off sites will be cleaned at the Chickasaw Nation Laundry Services facility in Ardmore. Donated items will be distributed through the Grace Center.