Keeping the community warm

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Coats are collected and organized by Brian Padgett, chef/manager at Taproom on 19th, as part of the Girard Estate Neighborhood Association’s seventh annual holiday coat drive. Contributed photo

A local association is hoping to bring a little warmth to those who need it during the chilly holiday season.

The Girard Estate Neighbors Association held its annual coat drive on Dec. 8-9, collecting  crucial supplies to help the less fortunate fight the bitter cold. Collection bins were stationed outside the Taproom on 19th along Ritner Street in the Girard Estate neighborhood for easy no-contact curbside drop-off.

The group of volunteers collected nine bins of coats this year, which will soon be in the hands of deserving local families. The drive is in its seventh year.

“While we normally host the coat drive indoors, the Taproom and GENA decided to try things curbside this year, as we wanted to give neighbors the opportunity to participate safely,” said

Jessica Frye, president, Girard Estate Neighbors Association. “The pandemic may have changed the look and feel of our events, but we’re still able to give back, and that’s what matters most.”

GENA partnered with the Thomas F. Donatucci Library in September and collected about 500 pounds of food to donate to Philabundance in the hopes of feeding food-insecure families. The coat drive is a timely effort each winter to address other needs for local families. Each year, the coat drive effort is a partnership between GENA and Taproom on 19th.

“We are always happy to help out our friends at GENA and be the drop location for the coat drive,” said Taproom on 19th owner Pete Fry. “Perhaps even more than previous years, so many people are in need, it’s the least we can do.”

Men’s donations will benefit Bethesda Project’s Our Brothers’ Place homeless shelter, while all women’s and children’s coat and warm weather accessory donations will be delivered to Maternity Care Coalition, an organization that supports local expectant mothers and their young families in-need.