Colder temperatures due to La Nina conditions continue to drop. In response to these colder months, Safeway is gathering up for its 21st annual Truckload of Coats. This event supports people currently experiencing houselessness within Portland. Safeway teamed up with the Columbia Sportswear Company to sponsor the Transition Projects—a housing project designed to provide housing for those without it—and hosted by 101.9 KINK radio station.
Having been around for 50 years, KINK is one of Portland’s only heritage radio stations, known for playing music requested by the fans, for the fans. Similarly, Transition Projects has served the community for half a century, meeting the needs for some of Portland’s most vulnerable populations that utilize the Project’s services at multiple levels on the journey out of houselessness. The Transition Projects assists nearly 500 people, via its resource center, and provides over 800 beds nightly for those who do not have anywhere else to go.
“KINK is proud to continue the tradition of the Truckload of Coats event,” said Gene Sandbloom, 101.9 KINK operations director. “Your old winter coat will now be someone’s new coat keeping them warm this winter. The warmth of our listeners’ generosity will be felt for months to come.”
Aside from basic services and housing needs, Transition Projects provides daily services like showers, assistance with notarized documents, hygiene kits, identification and birth certificates, eviction prevention and move-in assistance. With the winter approaching and COVID-19 still among us, the work the Project does may continue to be difficult, especially considering the eviction moratorium ended in June of this year.
A study from the Portland State University Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative and the Northwest Economic Research Center showed that 107,000 households were at-risk of housing instability in the tri-county area, as of 2017. This number may have increased since then.
Director of Development for Transition Projects, Roma Peyser, said that she was proud the organization was now a 21-year partner of Truckload of Coats. Due to the COVID-19 safety guidelines, this year’s event will be following “no-contact” safety guidelines, but Peyser said that the annual event was more critical than ever.
“As the weather gets colder, warm coats and clothing from the community are immediately distributed to our most vulnerable citizens who are experiencing homelessness,” Peyser said. “These donations make a huge difference.”
The one-day event will be Friday, Nov. 5 from 7 a.m.–5 p.m. at two different locations: 2200 Salamo Road, West Linn, OR 97068 and 13485 NW Cornell Road, Portland, OR 97229. The most needed items are cold-weather clothing, coats, raincoats, fleeces, pants, boots, gloves, underwear, tents and sleeping bags—all for adults. The event aims to collect gently-used items, and donors will receive a $5 Safeway gift card and a Columbia Sportswear Employee Store Shopping pass, while supplies last.
There are so many ways to get involved with Transition Projects, even outside of the coat drive. Those unable to make the event and interested in supporting the organization can volunteer with things such as helping with meals or can make a donation through the Project’s Amazon wishlist. The next orientation for training volunteers will be Nov. 6 from 12–1:30 p.m.