OCRC helps islanders stay warm and clean with Coates Programs

Submitted by Megan Ehrmantraut.

With the arrival of winter weather on Orcas Island, the Orcas Community Resource Center (OCRC) has been busy helping islanders stay warm. Through a generous grant from the Coates Family Foundation, OCRC is grateful to offer the Coates Closet and Coates Cabinet programs to our community.

Coates Closet supplies warm winter coats, hats, gloves and socks at no cost to islanders in need. During the months of October through December, providing warmth one coat at a time, OCRC has given out over 100 coats to our island neighbors. Coats are available in both adult and children’s sizes. OCRC’s Kids’ Coat Clinic held weekly in October was a huge success! Seeing the smile on children’s faces as they pick out their favorite color coat reminds us just how valuable the Coates Closet program is. Making an appointment is requested so that staff can reserve time to assist with shopping. If you or someone you know is in need of winter outerwear items, please contact OCRC at 360-376-3184 or info@orcascrc.org to make an appointment.

Basic hygiene products, such as shampoo, toilet paper, toothbrushes, dish soap, diapers, etc. should never be considered a luxury, yet many households struggle to afford these essentials. Coates Cabinet provides a variety of hygiene and cleaning products at no cost to those in need. Clients receive an allotment of items based on household size and may participate once a month. In-person shopping and pick-up hours are 12-4 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. An order can be placed ahead of time online at orcascrc.org/coates-cabinet or by calling 360-376-3184. Online or call-in orders must be placed no later than 12 p.m. on the Monday prior to pick up. For folks that have mobility or transportation challenges, delivery may be coordinated.

Here are just two examples of how OCRC’s Coates programs are making a difference.

A local island worker reached out to OCRC in need of a winter coat. Temperatures were dropping and their job involved working outside. Staff was able to offer a winter coat, hat, and gloves. They were so grateful that the Resource Center offers new coats to ensure that our community is warm during the harsh winter months.

An islander felt helpless after losing their housing. Living in their vehicle, they hadn’t been able to shower. Through OCRC’s Coates Cabinet program, staff was able to provide a toothbrush, toothpaste and body wash. Staff provided shower tokens and a towel to bathe along with a coat, gloves, hat and sleeping bag in an effort to help this islander stay warmer. They were so grateful to the community for the support.

If you’d like to learn more about OCRC’s services or make a donation to support their work, please visit www.orcascrc.org.