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Watertown Urban Mission coat distribution day is Tuesday

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Although the Watertown Urban Mission’s winter wear distribution day isn’t until Tuesday, the agency already has given away 633 coats since September.

Joanna J. Fassett, Critical Needs Program coordinator, said because the agency began giving out coats when it started getting cold, the Urban Mission is on track to surpass the 1,000 coats given to needy people and families last season. “There’s several hundred more coats to give out,” she said.

The Urban Mission will accept new or gently used coats, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens or other winter wear items. Ms. Fassett said there is a particular need, however, for coats for infants up to children 10 years old. Plus-size adult coats also are needed, she said. Donations are accepted before, and even after, the coat drive, and people can drop them off at the mission from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Support from people and businesses helps make the distribution day a success each year, according to Development Director Andrew G. Mangione.

“When the demand rises, this community so generously meets that demand,” he said. “We saw a 30 percent increase in the number of students who needed backpacks this year, and it’s quite possible we could see a similar increase. That’s why it’s important people who buy a coat or have coats to give continue to think about us.”

Ms. Fassett said a partnership between Froggy 97 and Herb Philipson’s alone brought in 500 coats.

Another big help, she said, is local craft enthusiasts who knit year-round and donate homemade winter wear products especially for the distribution day and Critical Needs program.

Distribution day is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

For more information, call Ms. Fassett at the agency, 782-8440.

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