From Buy Nothing Day – Coat Exchange:

The Buy Nothing Coat Exchange is back in full force this year to continue ensuring everyone who needs a coat this winter has one.


Scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 24 from 9 am–1 pm on the south lawn of the Rhode Island State House in Providence (across the street from the Cheesecake Factory), this year’s Coat Exchange is open to all those who’d either like to donate an item or those in need of winter gear. In case of rain, the Coat Exchange will be held at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church located at 15 Hayes St., Providence. Masks are encouraged if the event is relocated indoors.


The mission is simple: “Make sure everyone who needs a coat this winter has one.” All items are free – no questions asked – including coats, hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, and more.


Those interested in donating still have time to gather their gently-used winter gear – everything from coats, hats, and gloves to mittens, warm sweatshirts, and sweaters – and drop off whatever they can spare at one of the Coat Exchange’s collection sites throughout Rhode Island and Attleboro, MA. A full list of sites is available at

Community members can also host their own collection site at either their home or workplace by placing a collection bin or box at the location of their choice and contacting the Coat Exchange organizers via email at or the contact form at to arrange for a pickup time once all donations are received. As a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, the Coat Exchange can provide the paperwork to support tax-deductible donations as needed.


Launched more than 20 years ago by Rhode Island activist Greg Gerritt, the Coat Exchange is an extension of Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest against consumerism that runs concurrent with Black Friday, the United States’ busiest shopping day of the year. The idea is to treat “Buy Nothing Day” as an extension of Thanksgiving, encouraging folks to give rather than spend, and repurpose rather than throw away.


In recent years, Coat Exchange drives yielded the largest supplies in its history and organizers hope for similar results in 2023 as the housing crisis and inflation continue to affect those experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity, worsening the problem in our state as people have lost jobs, housing, and stability.


According to the annual Point-In-Time Count conducted in January by the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness, more than 1,800 Rhode Islanders are experiencing homelessness – a 15% increase from 2022 and a 65% increase since 2020 (though this figure is likely an undercount). The number of people living unsheltered – that is, in a tent, on the streets, or in places otherwise deemed unfit for human habitation – has skyrocketed 370% since 2019. Additionally, RI KIDS COUNT, which annually surveys conditions for children, released a report in May noting that nearly 1,500 children from kindergarten through high school in Rhode Island were considered homeless during the 2021–2022 school year, which is the most recent data available.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *