Unity in the Community members spent Saturday collecting coats and other clothing at the Mamie Nichols Center, 1529 S. 22nd St., during their annual coat drive. — Photo/Nathaniel Lee

With the arrival of fall comes cooler temperatures, that means many in Philadelphia will need help preparing for the colder days ahead. Unity in the Community addressed this need by holding its 5th annual Coat Drive.

On Saturday, Anton Moore, founder of the 7-year-old nonprofit, set up a collection spot at the Mamie Nichols Center, 1529 S. 22nd St. Donors not only delivered coats, but also other clothing that included uniforms for children attending schools in South Philadelphia that required them.

“We’re thinking about the kids and what we want to do. You see the coats and the uniforms and that’s what this is really about. We’re really excited about this,” said Moore.

“The school uniforms are a good thing because you have a lot of kids that need uniforms and is something that I really want to stress,” he added. “Some of our children have uniforms that are in deplorable conditions, so being able to get these uniforms out here for the kids are important.”

Not only is the annual coat drive important for meeting the needs of the community but it is also a bonding opportunity for neighbors who come together for an important cause.

“It’s something that we look forward because the families and everybody coming out being a part of this, it’s just something I really enjoy,” Moore said.

The coat drive is held each year in coordination with Diversified Community Services, an agency that provides children, adult and family programs in the Point Breeze area.

“Today’s coat drive is just one of the many things that we do in the community under the umbrella of Diversified Community Services in partnership with Unity in the Community,” said Loraine Yarborough of DCS.

“This is a way that we can help to keep our folks warm and help provide the things that they really need to keep them going,” she said.

Residents came out in large numbers to browse through the tables of donated second-hand coats and uniforms. Also a number of elected officials, law enforcement and others stopped by to make a contribution and show their support.

One of those was Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn Nichols, who came from West Philadelphia to make a donation of coats.

“We are all community together in Philadelphia," said Nichols. "Especially with recent events going on, we have to support each other.”

“That’s what will keep people out of the courts, when they get what they need they won’t have to go out here and do something desperate. Desperate people do desperate things so we don’t want people to be desperate, we want them to know that we support them,” she said.

State Rep. Jordan Harris supports the drive each year and calls the event an important one.

“It’s an awesome opportunity play our blessings forward for others who might need help,” said the South Philadelphia native, who attended high school with Moore.

“It’s a great example of how community and government can work together,” he added. “Government can’t do everything, so having people like Anton and other organizations out here doing the work is what makes us do so well in the neighborhood.”

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