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Students organize winter coat drive for Rhode Island’s disadvantaged

Daniel Costa

Assistant News Editor

Image via Caroline Niehoff

Students of Rhode Island College’s social work program have taken the initiative in providing critical winter supplies for Rhode Islanders in need. Keri Giacomini, a senior social work major, is leading the charge in partnership with Connect for Health, a social program under the Lifespan Community Health Institute.

As for the drive itself, there are two locations throughout the college where one may donate items: the student union building, as well as in the school of social work located at Guardo Hall, Building 9 of the East Campus. The coat drive will last from Nov. 15 until Dec. 17. Those who want to donate are encouraged to bring adult coats, gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters and adult winter clothing in general.

A snowy winter is forecasted for the coming season, therefore a demand for winter supplies will increase. This is one of the primary factors that played into how the drive came to be.

Giacomini said, “We have a small clothing closet that is always being filled, given and refilled and we were constantly running into issues of not having clothing and coats that the clients needed.”

The winter drive’s goal is to reach out to people in need throughout the state. There are multiple ways Connect for Health will help Rhode Islanders this winter. Those with the most basic needs are given priority and are referred to the program via their provider. Alternatively, the recipients of the aid may directly visit representatives of the program on location and fill out a form to receive the supplies. “Most of our clients need assistance with basic needs, so we are working with a population that needs support to see those needs met.” Giacomini stated.

The initial plans for the drive began with twelve students of the social work program interning with Connect for Health. Connect for Health is an organization representing 150 members from schools around the state such as Providence College, Brown University and Rhode Island College.

With 1,104 Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness in the winter of 2020, winter clothing drives are often on the initiative of groups such as this one who provide crucial relief and resources to the disadvantaged.



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