SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As below zero temperatures continue across KELOLAND, it is vitally important that everyone has the means to stay warm. KELOLAND News went to the St. Francis House is Sioux Falls to speak with Executive Director Julie Becker about how those in need can access much needed cold weather gear.
This year, the Keep KELOLAND Warm coat drive was different due to the pandemic, says Becker.
“What we are doing is we are having donors bring the coats to the St. Francis House. We go through and sort them and organize them, and then we have approximately 17 agencies in the community that will send us an email or a phone call requesting coats,” Becker said.
After a request is made, says Becker, St. Francis House staff and guests bag up the items for pick-up by the participating organizations.
This season, the St. Francis House has already given out more than 1,500 coats collected through the Keep KELOLAND Warm coat drive, and it still has more to give. Becker estimates that they currently have at least 300 – 400 coats on hand, and they encourage people to go to the partner agencies to make requests.
Here is a list of the participating agencies:
- St. Francis House
- Bishop Dudley Hospitality House
- Union Gospel Mission
- The Banquet
- Call To Freedom
- Presentation Sisters/Caminanda Juntos
- Carroll Institute/The Arch
- Glory House
- Minnehaha County Detox
- New Start
- Safe Home
- Department of Social Services – Child Protective Services
- Westside Christian School
- St. Vincent de Paul Outreach
Becker says that while small and medium sized apparel is very important to have on hand, they are also always in need of larger sizes. As an example, Becker showed us a size 5-XL women’s coat that she says is a rare find among donations.
“I know that once we have someone that needs this, this will be going into the hands of someone, and be able to keep them warm,” said Becker.
The availability of larger sizes is important for people who need them, and these larger sizes also come in handy for pregnant women who may have outgrown their normal size
Trina Crooked Foot, a guest at the St. Francis House, received a coat.
“I’m just appreciative of the staff,” Crooked Foot said. “They care about us being warm, and not letting us go out in this cold weather.”
In addition to providing warm clothes, Becker says that this week the St. Francis House is attempting to providing transportation for their guests, arranging rides to and from work to keep people from having to walk too far out in the cold.