St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Montrose helped distribute over 1600 coats and accessories to keep locals warm this winter.

This past December marked the 13th consecutive year of the annual “Coats for the Community” program. What was once a small event hosted by the local American Legion post has now become a collaborative effort between St. Paul’s, the American Legion, and various schools and other churches in Susquehanna County, with St. Paul’s now serving as a primary donor and one of the main distribution sites.

“They gave out about 300 coats their first year,” said Dan Graham, a member of St. Paul’s. “It sort of grew and grew so that St. Paul’s is now the group that selects the coats, stores the coats, and goes through the coats.”

“Coats for the Community” purchases gently-used coats and receives donated items to provide jackets and other winter clothing to people in need. Local schools have also held coat drives to help support the cause.

In addition to providing necessary clothing for those in need, the distribution events help bring community partners together.

“We’ve had lots of volunteers from the local high schools,” said the Rev. Arthur Jones III, Priest-in-Charge of St. Paul’s. “It’s a total outpouring of love and community and it’s humbling to be a part of.”