Coat Pickup: Chicago Housing Authority, Operation Warm Donate 6K Winter Jackets to UIC Forum on Near West Side

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CHICAGO (WLS) – The Chicago Housing Authority and Operation Warm handed out more than 6,000 coats to people on Saturday just before the city turned to winter.

“It helps the community so much,” said Angela Young, who received a coat on the drive.

That’s the goal of Operation Warm, the nonprofit that has partnered with CHA to support children and families in need before the cold sets in.

“It’s good,” said Constance Thompson, who also received a coat. “It’s a good workout that they do for the kids and everything for everything that’s going on… and COVID is slowing everyone down.”

Operation Warm is the largest coat collection in the United States. It took place at the University of Illinois Chicago Forum.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot made an appearance to stress the need for unity with such events.

“When we are challenged… we always stand up to meet that challenge by coming together,” said Lightfoot. “And that’s what it’s really about today.”

In addition to the 6,000 coats given to children, people also had the chance to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19. Some nonprofits have also helped those in need pay their grocery and utility bills.

“In Chicago it’s cold so we have to make sure everyone has heat, electricity, gas so you can get warm this winter,” Lightfoot said.

Donating coats has a long tradition in Chicago with 100,000 coats donated to families over the past 14 years. This is something foster parents don’t take for granted.

“There are a lot of kids who are in need,” Young said.

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