Nonprofit Groups Give Winter Clothing to Community Members in Need

Hundreds of people in York, Pennsylvania, received much-needed warm winter clothing Saturday, thanks to two nonprofit organizations.

“No one in my area is going to be cold,” said 11-year-old Tristan Rankin, who started the nonprofit called Coats of Friendship in 2015 after he watched a YouTube video about a young boy in New York who needed a coat.

“It was about survival,” the Friendship Elementary student told the York Daily Record. “I realized people need to be warm, they need to be loved.”

Now, the nonprofit’s mission is to provide warm clothes for the homeless community and anyone else in need during the cold winter months.

The website stated:

We got our first donation of coats in 2015 and hung them throughout two parks in York, PA, so people who live on the streets, with no jackets, could just walk up and grab a jacket. While we were hanging the jackets, we meet a teenage girl and her mom. They had just moved from Florida, where they did not need jackets, and they did not have enough money for jackets. So we got her, her family, and her neighbors jackets.

It has now adapted into an organization run by elementary students who are inspired to collect warm clothing for people in need in York County, PA.

Saturday, the young students who ran the event helped people find what they needed among the 2,500 donated pieces of clothing at the distribution site located inside Union Lutheran Church on West Market Street.

Just a few blocks away on West King Street, another nonprofit organization called Nate’s Necessities also gave out hundreds of articles of warm clothing to their neighbors. 

“We started early today,” said Kerry Smeltzer, who started the organization with his wife after they tragically lost their son, Nate, to an opioid overdose in November of 2017.

“You should have seen the people. There was a real crowd, and the tables were piled sky high,” he commented. 

Smeltzer said his son was a kind and giving person, so the nonprofit has given him a way to continue that legacy.

“We decided at that point, to help save a life or two,” he concluded.