Community Effort Makes Warm Coats Accessible to All


While the near record temperatures Central Illinois has experienced this February may not have you thinking much about staying warm in the winter, for those dealing with homelessness or limited financial resources, it is a very real concern. Oftentimes people are afraid to tell others they aren’t able to afford a warm coat or simply don’t have the time or resources to travel somewhere to get a donated one. It is the reason a local couple has stepped up to make sure these barriers don’t get in the way of staying warm.

Lauren and John Biggan moved to Champaign from Texas, where they quickly realized just how harsh the climate can be. It is the reason that John decided he wanted to help those who have to face the cold without a warm coat.

“We were looking for some way to help and I was on Facebook one day and saw this over in the UK. I looked around and saw a few other places in the USA that were doing something similar to this. I came home, told Lauren about it and she said let’s do it.” Says John Biggan.

What the couple ended up doing was putting a coat rack in downtown Champaign filled with donated coats. It allows anyone to come pick up a coat for free with no questions asked. So far the program has been so successful that they have had to increase the size of the rack. It is a project they would like to see grow to other communities across Central Illinois.

If you or someone you know is in need of a coat, or if you would like to donate a coat, the rack is located in between Neil and Walnut Streets in downtown Champaign in between Cowboy Monkey and The Blind Pig. 

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