Unless you are lucky enough to live in California or another warm and sunny locale, winter can get pretty chilly! And for too many Americans across the country, winter also brings the painful choice between paying rent and putting food on the table, or buying adequate winter coats for themselves and their families.

This year, with the recession continuing to put an extra strain on families, and many families on the East Coast still suffering from losses after Hurricane Sandy, we think there’s a need for a little extra warm stuff. Fortunately, there’s something you can do. Got a new or gently used extra coat in your closet? Instead of letting it hang around collecting moth balls, put it to good use in a local coat drive that redistributes gently used gear to those in need.

According to New York Cares, “90% of homeless adults need a new, warm coat each winter because they have no place to keep one over the summer months.” That means, coat drives play an important role every year in making sure everyone has equal access to warm clothing during the colder months. Here are a few coat drive opportunities across the country:

  • New York Cares’ Coat Drive: Help this New York City-based organization collect 200,000 winter coats through December 31 to help New York City families who are living in poverty keep warm.
  • One Warm Coat: This national organization helps individuals and local charities organize coat drives for men, women and children in need. They’ve helped distribute close to 3 million coats since 1992. Help them do even more!
  • Clothes4Souls: This national clothing donation organization teamed up with outdoor retailer, The North Face, this holiday season. Through December 24, bring your gently used clothing and coats to participating North Face retail locations and help give the gift of warmth.

There are too many local coat drives across the country to list them all – so we’re counting on YOU! Do you know about a local coat drive in your neighborhood or city? Let us know by tweeting @repairtheworld.