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Urban Mission to host winter wear distribution on Thursday

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While the Watertown Urban Mission already has given out more than 400 coats through its Critical Needs Program since mid-September, the nonprofit expects to serve hundreds more Thursday during its annual winter wear distribution day.

Adults and children in need of warm winter coats, mittens, gloves, scarves, boots or other winter wear can stop by the mission, 247 Factory St., between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Critical Needs Coordinator Joanna J. Fassett said more than 1,000 people are expected to be helped throughout the winter season.

“When we got our first really cold spell, that prompted a lot of activity with coats or accessories,” she said. “It’s a very fluid thing, and keeps coming in waves. We gave away coats in March, and we anticipate doing that again in 2014.”

Coat donations still are being accepted for distribution Thursday and to be saved for needy families throughout the year. Items on which the agency is running low, Ms. Fassett said, are baby coats, baby snowsuits, toddler coats, boots for children and adults, and large coats for adults.

Individual community members have donated items for the effort, as have the mission’s member churches, Stage Notes with Watertown Savings Bank and Sherwood Florist, Immaculate Heart Central schools, Indian River Central School District, Kinney Drugs, Herb Philipson’s and Froggy 97, and Burlington Coat Factory’s “One Warm Coat” coat drive.

Throughout the 2012-13 winter season, 1,475 people received coats and/or winter accessories.

Ms. Fassett said new, handmade knitted hats, mittens and scarves also are accepted for donation.

“There’s a need for everything,” she said.

Development Director Andrew G. Mangione said he encourages people to attend the distribution day, or stop by the mission soon thereafter, because available space to store and maintain the items may be limited soon as the mission hopes to start facility improvements, as part of its capital campaign, early next year.

“It’ll make a busy place even busier,” Mr. Mangione said.

Meanwhile, the mission also is looking for donations of new, unwrapped toys for children from birth up to age 17, as part of an upcoming Christmas effort.

For more information, call the mission at 782-8440.

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