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Coat drive held for SCV emergency winter shelter

Saugus Speedway and Swap Meet works to help homeless keep warm

Posted: January 2, 2010 8:19 p.m.
Updated: January 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Terri Burbank, General Manager of the Saugus Speedway and Swap Meet stacks the estimated 50 to 70 warm coats that were donated for the homeless.

The Saugus Speedway and Swap Meet has started a month-long coat drive with donations going to the homeless or needy at the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter and the San Fernando Valley Rescue Center.

It is the first time the swap meet has ever done a coat drive, said swap meet manager Terri Burbank.

"Donating is just as simple as dropping off a clean, unused coat from your closet that you don't wear any more and knowing you can keep a person in need warmer this winter," Burbank said.

The executive director of the shelter Tim Davis said there is always a need for winter clothing. The shelter has been over capacity for weeks.

The shelter is only meant to house 40 people, Davis said. The shelter has had about 43 and 44 people stay at the shelter the last few weeks, he said.

Coats have been coming into the swap meet since Christmas, Burbank said. Before Saturday, they already had more than 30 coats, she said.

Davis said because the shelter is filled to capacity, there isn't enough room to store coats from the drive. They can only take between five to ten coats at a time, he said.

Shoppers can drop off coats at the front gates and get free admission into the swap meet, she said. People can drop off coats at swap meet offices as well, she said.

Vendors too can donate coats and receive half-off the cost of renting a space to sell, Burbank said.

It costs $10 to rent a space, she said.

The coat drive is being put on with the help of "One Warm Coat" - a national nonprofit organization that organizes coat drives across the country, Burbank said.

According to their Website, the charity has collected more than a million coats nationally since it started in 1992.

Their offices were closed Saturday.

There are more than 50 coat drives currently being held across California, including drives in Palmdale, Torrance, San Diego and San
Francisco, according to the organization's online directory.


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