Coat Drive Benefits OKC’s Homeless Magazine Vendors
OKLAHOMA CITY - Many homeless people across the metro do not have a warm place to escape the frigid cold, but that is not stopping the vendors of the Curbside Chronicle. A local ad agency is trying to help them, through a much-needed coat drive.
The men and women who sell the Curbside Chronicle magazine are working to pull themselves out of homelessness, but it takes a lot of determination to stand outside in the middle of winter when you do not have a proper coat.
You may see them on your daily commute, green-vested vendors offering up the Curbside Chronicle for $2. Leslie Reeder says buyers are often generous. He once got $90 from Governor Mary Fallin, but he and his companions are still forced to piece together the layers of clothing of they have just to stay warm.
“When our vendors are focusing on their sales and meeting their financial goals to move into housing and move forward in life, it demands them being outside,” says magazine director Ranya O’Connor.
Ranya O'Connor says the Homeless Alliance does the best they can to provide for the vendors, but they too rely on donations. She says most of these men and women do not own real coats. “It’s not just a comfort thing,” she says. “It’s honestly a survival and a health thing.”
So Insight Creative Group decided to make it their mission for the new year. ICG content manager Lisha Dunlap says, “We thought, what’s the quickest thing that we could do to make a difference now, and obviously it’s freezing now.”
They set out this week to spread the word that they are collecting 218 coats in 2018. The most in-demand sizes are men's Large and up, and donors can drop them off at the ICG office at 19 NE 9th Street.
The coat rack will be placed outside after business hours, and employees will bring it inside in the morning so you can donate around the clock, offering you a convenience, so you can offer the magazine vendors a necessity.
“The more of their basic needs that we can help them cover, the more they can focus on moving forward and making that next goal a reality,” O’Connor says.
There is no deadline to donate. ICG will keep the coat drive open until they collect their goal of 2018 coats. They hope to receive even more, to help vendors well into the future.