Charleston – The cold reality of the holiday season is that not everyone has access to the winter gear they need to stay warm. More than 200,000 people die each year from the cold.

This year, in honor of MLK Day of Service, Education Alliance AmeriCorps is hosting a coat drive called Coats4Kids from January 18 to February 1, 2021. The Coats4Kids drive is part of a national effort through One Warm Coat.

“More than 300,000 West Virginians were living in poverty and struggling to pay their bills before the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of COVID-19, the need for coats this winter is greater than ever before,” said Dr. Amelia Courts, the President/CEO of The Education Alliance.

“Through the Coats4Kids drive we answer Dr. King’s call to serve and are making a difference in the lives of West Virginia residents by helping our neighbors stay safe and warm this winter.”

The Coats4Kids drive aims to donate at least 400 articles of winter clothing to help West Virginia families stay warm. Area residents are invited to make a difference in their local community by donating new and gently used coats, hats, scarves, and gloves.

Education Alliance AmeriCorps encourages you to put extra love in your donation by including a note in the pocket of each coat. Last year, more than 500,000 coats were distributed across North America to children and adults in need through One Warm Coat’s coat drive program.

“The health effects of extreme cold are life threatening. We are so grateful for our partners like Education Alliance AmeriCorps whose efforts are ensuring many people in West Virginia will be safe and protected this winter,” said Beth W. Amodio, President and CEO of One Warm Coat. Drop-off locations are available around the state with donations benefiting the local community.

Financial donations are being collected online and by check to buy winter gear for West Virginia nonprofits in need. For a complete list of drop-off locations or to donate online, visit educationalliance.org/coats4kids. MLK Day of Service encourages all Americans to improve communities through volunteer service. 2021 will mark the 26th celebration of the annual service event since Congress designated the MLK holiday the first ever National Day of Service and charged AmeriCorps with leading this effort.