Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - It may be October, but hints of winter are all around. Daily temps are peaking with highs in the low 40's, making it all but impossible for the Damiano clothing exchange center to keep their winter coat rack stocked.
"Our coat rack out in the hallway, which is available for everybody whenever the building is open, emptied. Within 24 hours it was empty," said clothing Programs Coordinator Patti Nadeau.
While men's winter jackets are in the highest demand, Nadeau says it doesn't end at jackets: "[We need] the hats, the mitts, the gloves, the scarves, the blankets, sleeping bags, tents—because there are people who are outside all year long."
Even June's flood can be tied to the increased need this season.
"A lot of people had their winter items stored in the basement, and now they no longer have their winter items," said Nadeau.
According to those at Goodwill, an unfortunate increase in need is often coupled with a decrease in donations.
"This is going to be leading into our slower time of year for donations, and we like to have a lot on hand. The rule is, if you haven't worn something in a year, it might be time to say goodbye to that and bring it into Goodwill," said Valerie Clark, Public Relations Specialist with Goodwill Duluth.
Clark says increased competition from for–profit thrift stores that also collect donations is contributing to the decrease in donations.
That's why Clark, and other shelter coordinators, are encouraging Northlanders to do their research before making a donation to ensure their items go to the best cause for a community in need.
The Damiano drop–off center will take all winter–friendly items Monday through Wednesday, and Friday, from 9 AM to 3 PM; Saturday from 10 to 2.
The Salvation Army is also accepting donations, and we've put links to both of their websites right here: