Last winter we shared a story about Chase the Chill, a coalition of stitchers and groups that make scarves and distribute them in public places, for anyone to take. So it warmed our hearts when we saw this group of young girls tying coats and other winter accessories to street poles to help those in need.


Image via Halifolks

Every year, Tara Smith-Atkins, from Caledonia, Nova Scotia asks her community to donate coats to be distributed to the homeless. This year, she posted her request on Facebook and her neighbors responded by providing dozens of coats and cold weather accessories to the cause.

The family decided to distribute the coats on November 15th, when they planned on visiting Halifax for their daughter Jayda’s birthday party.

Tara, her husband and Jayda, joined by a group of her daughter’s friends, took the donated coats, scarves, hats and gloves, and tied them to street poles throughout the city for anyone to claim. Like the scarves given out during Chase the Chill, each item had a tag that read “I am not lost! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep warm!”

Locals who came across the coats started to post photos of them on social media, not only to spread the word of the kind gesture, but more importantly, letting people know that the coats were there to take.

This wasn’t the first time Tara and her family have done this, and it’s certainly not the last. Next year, the family hopes to put $5 gift cards from fast food chains in the pocket of each coat so the recipients can also get a hot meal.

In the U.S., more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year. On a typical night in 2014, more than 578,000 Americans were homeless.

As winter nears and temperatures start to plummet, it’s more important than ever to help those in need. In addition to making donations of food, clothing, and other necessities, we can all help by calling local hypothermia hotlines if we see individuals on the streets in unsafe temperatures.

To volunteer or find additional resources to help the homeless, check out the Homeless Shelter Directory.