HUMBOLDT COUNTY- 'Coats for the Cold' has collected nearly 10,000 coats over the past six years to be donated to the homeless and children in need of warm outwear. This year the organization expects to hand out and collect 5,000 coats, jackets, and hoodies.
Founder, Robert Lohn, said he had the idea on a whim when he was at a department store and saw discounted winter jackets. "For 260 dollars I bought 20 coats and took them to the Eureka Rescue Mission," said Lohn.
On his drive home, he said, he thought about how he could continue to donate jackets and get businesses and the community involved.
Since then Lohn has expanded his idea to include collecting gently used coats to distribute to those in need. Loan has distribution centers "from Garberville to McKinleyville," he said.
Over 15 different non-profit groups and businesses have helped to distribute coats. Lohn has worked with Mission Linen Supply for the past three years who donate their laundry services to clean the coats.
"We can help others and I think everybody in the community can give a little," said General Manager of Mission Linen Supply, Dennis Pieper.
Lohn said giving a coat to a child does more than just help them stay warm. "You can't measure it in dollars or cents. The little bit of self esteem the dignity that goes with it," said Lohn.