Winter Spotlight: Annual Community Coat Exchange

coatexchangehaveaheart1Can you believe how cold it is getting out there?! The Fairpark Community Council was proud to participate as a partner in the Annual Community Coat Exchange again this fall. The Annual Community Coat Exchange, a project of Blue Sky Institute, has been an ongoing event in Salt Lake City, Utah since 2005. The event is held annually at Pioneer Park from 10am to 1pm the day after Thanksgiving. “Need a coat? Come get one. Have a coat? We know someone who can use it!” the website says.

We wanted to learn more about the individuals that this event helps so we met with Glenn Baily, Executive Director of the Crossroads Urban Center. With over 50 years of service, Crossroads Urban Center is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that assists and organizes Utahans with low incomes, those with disabilities, and people of color to meet basic survival needs and to address essential issues affecting quality of life. Crossroads runs an Emergency Food Pantry and helps over 4,000 families each year. Mr. Bailey is passionate about getting individuals to participate in Community Council events. “We want to continue working with individuals in the neighborhood to discuss real issues of homelessness and affordable housing, and make sure that individuals that haven’t traditionally been involved in Community Council are able to have their voices heard.”

So this year, we have been collecting jackets this fall and presented them at the event the day after Thanksgiving. Do you have something you want to donate but were not able to do it for this event? Bring your gently used or new jackets to a Fairpark Community Council meeting and we will get them to Crossroads Urban Center. Clean out your closets and help out an individual in need! “A lot of the people we serve are families, so often it’s about having a good coat that fits. It’s about helping people stretch their budget,” Mr. Bailey added.

Every year, the Annual Community Coat Exchange receives hundreds of donated jackets and coats and delivers them to Pioneer Park the day after Thanksgiving. Anyone may get a coat: No questions asked. Exchange a coat, take a coat, donate a coat. Leftover coats are donated to the Crossroads Urban Center Thrift Store which is a place where homeless individuals and families can come and get winter coats. Mr. Bailey said, “The coat drive used to be at Library Square and they’ve always included us. The extras are given away for free through our thrift store by using a referral at the food pantry. Coats are one of the things people are always looking for. We do serve a lot of homeless people. They do go through a lot of clothes, particularly because they aren’t able to launder things. This helps people get by. That’s the number one reason people user our food pantry. It’s because they’ve just paid their rent. That’s why the coat exchange is so great, because people are able to stretch their budgets.”

Individuals with referrals from a variety of community and religious groups can exchange vouchers for clothing and household items at the Store at no cost. Items are also offered at nominal prices to those without referrals or in need of other goods. Items are also offered at nominal prices to those without referrals or in need of other goods. Crossroads Urban Center is always reliant on volunteers and you can learn more at Mr. Bailey said, “Having a good supply of coats, especially going into winter, makes a big difference.”

For more information about the Annual Community Coat Exchange, go to