"Need one, take one" coat racks catching on

A coat rack on Cherokee Street was one of the first ones. Now they are popping up all over the place.

On a freezing day, some are finding a little warmth and a little kindness from strangers.

Last month, we told you about a coat rack on Cherokee Street. The idea is simple: take a coat if you need one, and donate if you can spare.

Michael Smith said he found a warm jacket, pants and a scarf from the rack. He washes windows to earn extra money, and the layers help keep him warm.

“This is a good idea and I thank all of them for volunteering and giving us clothes,” Smith said. “It does help us.”

The coat rack on Cherokee Street was one of the first.

“It’s urgently needed, we have a lot of people who can't get to Goodwill. This way, they can walk by and grab what they need,” said Donna McWilliams, who dropped off several coats.

The idea caught on, and businesses in the St. Louis area put racks outside of their sidewalks.

“Every time the weather dips down, we find more coats,” said Tessa Auza, the general manager of Guerilla Street Food on Arsenal. “The other night, there were bags and bags of hats and scarves.”

There’s also a rack in front the HSB Tobacco Shop in the Delmar Loop. Donors said it’s an easy way to spread a little love, one coat at a time.

“It's very rewarding, it really is. Especially with this cold weather, you know there's people who don't have enough, in many ways,” said Mark Ferris, who donated coats.


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