Wheeler Mission asks for coat donations, resources for those facing cold

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As many Hoosiers struggle to stay warm in the cold weather, the largest homeless shelter in Indianapolis is asking for coat donations after their supply ran out.

William Bumphus, the director of Wheeler Mission’s downtown shelter, says donated coats never stay in their donation centers for long.

“As soon as that coat comes into our facility, into our donation center, it goes right back out,” Bumphus said. “Coats are not always that donated item throughout the year, so once it starts getting cold is when we have that need and they’re just not here.”

Wheeler Mission is asking for coat donations, especially size 2X plus.

“Donations of new or gently used men’s winter coats can be dropped off at our Men’s Residential Center, 245 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis,” the organization posted on Facebook.

In the meantime, Wheeler Mission officials are directing those in need to other organizations that can help provide warm clothing and shelter during the winter months.

The Handbook of Help, published by the the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, lists 11 emergency shelters and 12 clothing pantries around Indianapolis.

One of those clothing pantries is located at Central Christian Church, at 701 N. Delaware Street. Pastor Linda McCrae says the church has been running a clothing pantry for 20 years.

“We kind of make a list for our own members of like, we need these things, we especially need these things,” McCrae said, “and men’s coats is pretty much always on that list.”

All the clothing items are donated by church members and the community and are free to anyone who needs them.

“Anybody who needs clothing can come here once every four weeks,” McCrae said.

Later this month, the church’s gym will also start operating as an overflow shelter for Wheeler Mission.

“Starting December 30, we will have between 50 and 70 men sleeping in our gymnasium on the second floor every night through March 15,” McCrae said.

Calling 211 can direct those in need to various services around the community. Organizations like Horizon House and the Salvation Army can also provide relief to those who need it.

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