12th annual Free Coat Exchange helps those in need on Black Friday

Free Coat Exchange gives away free coats and other cold essentials for free every year on Black Friday.
Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 5:17 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For the twelfth year in a row, Free Coat Exchange hosted its Black Friday event throughout Louisville.

The organization collects coats, gloves, hats and other items to keep people warm free of charge.

This year, there were six different sites across the city that were a part of the giveaway.

When it comes to Black Friday, shops and stores do their best to convince you why they have the best deals around but at Free Coat Exchange, there is no deal, it’s free.

”No money, no nothing. And if you come down here to get a coat sir, I don’t want to see a welfare card, I don’t want to see a drivers license,” Free Coat Exchange organizer Ted Loebenberg said. “I don’t want to see anything.”

Loebenberg said 15 organizations collect donations for the big day each year.

One of those groups, Louisville Collegiate School, said it wanted to be hands on with its contributions.

”Upper school and middle school students kind of brought all of their coats to one place, which made it easier for us to load it in the truck and also see how much we are giving,” Louisville Collegiate School kindergarten teacher Lori Trexler said. “It shows, you know, that you can do something little it can make a difference.”

Erick Clark just moved here from Virginia and said this event helped him get ready for the dropping temperatures.

”It’s a blessing because those people that don’t have coats, need coats and it’s the right time for the people that are less fortunate not to have a coat,” Clark said.

This act of kindness seems even more important during a time that retail items are higher than ever before because of inflation.

”I think it’s very telling and representative that on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year when people are trying to hit all of these sales and people are arguing and fighting over goods, that we come give something to people in need and it’s free,” Trexler said.

Since everything is free, WAVE News asked Loebenberg what does he get out of hosting this event, and for him it’s simple because he gets to help those in need.

”Those two gentlemen who were here earlier when you first got here, the first thing out of their mouths was do you need any help,” Loebenberg said. “They needed coats but they offered to help. So what do I get out of it? Satisfaction. A good nights sleep.”

A gesture Clark said he can’t thank them enough for.

”I just thank them for the coats that they’re doing. Not just for the coats, but for all the other stuff like the clothes, the gloves and other things,” Clark said. “It’s alright and it’s going to be alright. I like this.”

Loebenberg said he expects to give out more than 5,000 coats on Friday.

The coats that don’t go to people will be given to nonprofits who will give them out to people in their organizations.